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The Phonautographic Manuscripts of 


Edited and Translated by 
Patrick Feaster 

Bloomington, Indiana 


(( "irst Sounds )) 

>), Published December 2009; Edition 1.1 (March 2010) 

Table of Contents 

Principes de Phonautographie 4 

Brevet d'Invention 13 

Graphie du Son 19 

SEIN 8/54-12 21 

Fixation Graphique de la Voix 23 

SEIN 8/54-18 bis 43 

SEIN 8/54-18 46 

Certificatd' Addition 52 

Fixation et Transcription du Chant 68 

Inscription automatique des sons de l'air au moyen d'une oreille artificielle 70 

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The writings of Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville are an indispensible source of information for anyone seeking to understand the origins of 
recorded sound. But they are also challenging to contend with as texts: some exist only in handwritten form, while others exist in multiple 
"authorized" versions that vary significantly in content and wording. This publication contains the French text of every available Scott manuscript 
on the subject of phonautography, annotated to reflect all known variants that might reflect Scott's own emendations and additions, side by side 
with an English translation. Writings that are not known to exist in handwritten versions are excluded from this publication, as is a private 
autobiographical sketch in the possession of the Scott de Martinville family that contains scattered references to the phonautograph. Nevertheless, 
all relevant writings Scott is known to have produced during the 1850s and 1860s are included here. 

Earlier versions of some of this material were previously published in First Sounds Working Papers 1-4, together with a number of facsimiles 
prepared by David Giovannoni. However, we have since concluded that transcriptions and facsimiles are better compared side by side as separate 
documents, and that there are advantages to having all the transcriptions and translations together in one document. With that in mind, the present 
publication marks the beginning of a process of reorganization. New facsimiles currently in preparation (March 2010) will be made available 
"under separate cover" through, and we are also exploring hyperlink options for enhanced ease of reference. 

In this work, I have adopted the following language to identify the different areas in which Scott wrote inscriptions on his phonautograms: 



The white-on-black inscriptions were scratched in the lampblack prior to fixing in alcohol (the occasional ink notation in one of these same 
positions is noted as such). Inscriptions appeared "underneath" only when Scott mounted phonautograms on other sheets of paper. A "side" 
inscription means one written on a backing paper in the position indicated; a "margin" inscription appears in the same position, but on the 
unblackened margin or underlap area of the phonautographic sheet iself. All inscriptions corresponding to actual phonautograms of acoustic 
phenomena — excluding records of spinning tops and the like — are shown here in shaded boxes for ease of reference. 

Principes de Phonautographie 

Scott's earliest known statement about sound recording, this text is represented here in two variants: the manuscript version in Scott's own 
handwriting, preserved in the archives of the Academie des Sciences de I'Institut de France, where it was originally deposited in a sealed packet 
on 26 January 1857 ("1857"); and a print version in Scott's self-published book of 1878, Le probleme de la parole s'ecrivant elle-meme ("1878"). 
An earlier version of this text and translation, with a facsimile of 1857, appears in First Sounds Working Paper 1. 

{1857:envelope} Paquet cachete depose a l'Academie des sciences le 
26 Janvier 1857 par M. Edouard-Leon Scott I No. 1639 
Seance du 26 Janvier 1857 I le Depot est accepte I L. E. d' B 

{1857:[1]; 1878:[29]} 

Principes de Phonautographie 1 

Monsieur le President, 

Voici les motifs qui m'ont conduit a vous prier d'accepter, au nom 
de l'Academie, le depot d'un paquet cachet. 2 

Mes recherches sur l'ecriture acoustique, longtemps interrompues, 3 
remontent a trois annees. Ne pouvant faire seul 4 les essais pratiques 
necessaires pour arriver a une solution complete de la question et 
construire des appareils de precision, j'ai tout recemment communique 
mon principe a un habile et savant constructeur. 5 II me parait juste, afin 
que notre part respective puisse etre faite legitimement dans le succes, 
si succes il y a, de determiner avec soin le point precis oil je me trouve 
aujourd'hui parvenu. 

Sealed packet deposited with the Academie des Sciences on 

26 January 1857 by Mr. Edouard-Leon Scott I No. 1639 

Session of 26 January 1857 I the Deposit was accepted I L. E. d' B 

Principles of Phonautography 

Mr. President, 

Here are the motives that have led me to ask you to accept, in the name 
of the Academie, the deposit of a sealed packet. 

My research on acoustic writing, long interrupted, 
dates back three years. Not being able to conduct alone the practical 
tests necesary to reach a complete solution to the question and to build 
precision apparatuses, I very recently communicated my principle to a 
skilful and learned manufacturer. It appears right to me, in order that 
our respective share might be taken legitimately in the success, if 
success there is, carefully to establish the precise point I have reached 

Notations made when the packet was opened on 15 July 1861 have not been included in the present transcription, but the document was assigned the new 
number 324. 1878 is headed "Piece n° 1. I Paquet cachete depose au Secretariat de V Academie des Sciences le 26 Janvier 1857 et ouvert dans la seance du 15 
juillet 1861. I Principes de Phonautographie I 26 Janvier 1857." = "Document No. 1 I Sealed packet deposited with the Secretariat of the Academie des 
Sciences on 26 January 1857 and opened at the meeting of 15 July 1861. I PRINCIPLES OF PHONAUTOGRAPHY I 26 January 1857." 

1878 omits paragraph break. 

3 1878 omits "longtemps interrompues" 

4 1878 has "moi-meme tous" for "seul" = "Not being able myself 'to conduct all the tests...." 

3 1878 inserts endnote A (p. [69]): "Ce n'est pas de M. Rudolph Kcenig qu'il s'agit en 1857; mais d'un constructeur de premier ordre qui habitait rue Notre- 
Dame-des-Champs." = "This is not Mr. Rudolph Kcenig who is at issue in 1857, but a manufacturer of the first order who dwelt in rue Notre-Dame-des- 
Champs." 1878 text also inserts footnote 1: "M. Froment." 
6 1878 omits "precis" = "precise" 

Y a-t-il possibility d'arriver, en ce qui concerne le son, a un resultat 
{1878:30} analogue a celui atteint des a present pour la lumiere par les 
precedes photographiques? 7 Peut-on esperer que le jour est proche oil 
la phrase musicale, echappee des levres du chanteur, 8 viendra s'ecrire 
d'elle-meme et comme a l'insu du musicien sur un papier docile 
et laisser une trace imperissable de ces fugitives melodies que la 
memoire ne retrouve plus alors qu'elle les cherche? Pourra-t-on, entre 
deux hommes reunis dans un cabinet silencieux, faire intervenir un 
stenographe automatique qui conserve l'entretien dans ses plus 
minutieux details, tout en s'accommodant a la vitesse de la 
conversation? Pourra-t-on conserver a la generation future quelques 
traits de la diction d'un de ces acteurs eminents, de ces grands artistes 
qui meurent sans laisser apres eux la plus faible trace de leur genie? 
L' improvisation de l'ecrivain, lorsqu'elle {1857:[2]} surgit au milieu de 
la nuit, pourra-t-elle se retrouver le lendemain avec sa liberte, 9 cette 
independance complete de la plume, instrument si lente a traduire une 
pensee toujours refroidie dans sa lutte avec l'expression ecrite? 

Is there a possibility of reaching, in the case of sound, a result 
analogous to that attained at present for light by photographic 
processes? Can it be hoped that the day is near when 
the musical phrase, escaped from the singer's lips, will be written 
by itself and as if without the musician's knowledge on a docile paper 
and leave an imperishable trace of those fugitive melodies which the 
memory no longer finds when it seeks them? Will one be able, between 
two men brought together in a silent room, to cause to intervene 
an automatic stenographer that preserves the discussion in its 
minutest details while adapting to the speed of the conversation? Will 
one be able to preserve for the future generation some features of the 
diction of one of those eminent actors, those grand artists who die 
without leaving behind them the faintest trace of their genius? 
Will the improvisation of the writer, when it emerges in the middle of 
the night, be able to be recovered the next day with its freedom, this 
complete independence from the pen, an instrument so slow to represent 
a thought always cooled in its struggle with written expression? 

Je le crois. Le principe est trouve. II ne reste plus que des 
difficultes d' application, grandes sans doubt mais non insurmountables 
dans l'etat actuel des arts physiques et mecaniques. 

I believe so. The principle is found. Nothing more remains but 
difficulties of application, undoubtedly great but not insurmountable 
in the current state of the physical and mechanical arts. 

Des a present " l'appareil rudimentaire dont je vais faire la description 
peut fournir des donnees utiles au progres de toutes les branches des 
sciences naturelles. 

At present the rudimentary apparatus of which I will make description 
can furnish data useful for the progress of all branches of the natural 

En effet, parvenir a prendre une ample connaissance des vibrations 
aeriennes, les soumettre a l'etude par la vue, 13 a la mesure des 
instruments de precision, suppleer ainsi a l'insuffisance de notre organ 
principal qui ne nous permet pas de compter les vibrations, souvent 
meme de les apercevoir, n'est-ce pas accomplir un grand pas? 

Indeed, to succeed in gaining full knowledge of aerial vibrations, to 
submit them to study by sight, to measurement by instruments of 
precision, to compensate thus for the insufficiency of our principal 
organ which does not permit us to count the vibrations, often 
even to see them, is this not to take a great step? 

1878 has only "par la photographie" = "by photography" 

The phrase "echappee des levres du chanteur" is not set off by commas in 1878 

1878 has "avec toute sa liberte" = "with all its freedom" 

1878 has "de la plume si lent" = "from the pen so slow" 

1878 omits "plus" = "There remain only difficulties of application...." 

1878 inserts comma 

1878 has "l'etude de l'organe de la vue" = "study by the organ of sight" 

1878 has "appreciation ordinaire qui ne peut compter les vibrations, souvent meme les apercevoir" 
vibrations, often even to see them" 

= "ordinary appreciation which is unable to count the 


Que savons-nous, en effet, 15 des lois qui president au timbre particulier 
a chaque corps sonore? Quelle explication nette pouvons-nous donner 
des modifications imprimees aux ondes aeriennes par la voix articulee? 
Voila des objets d' etude invest| s atlons 16 abordables des ce moment par le 
precede que je vais avoir l'honneur de vous soumettre. Je m'occupe 
d'etudier de visu la difference des sons et des bruits, de 
soulever une partie du mystere" de l'harmonie numerique 
d'ebranlements qui s'etablit dans les corps animes et inanimes sous 
l'influence d'un son prolonge. 

Voici les principes theoriques sur lesquels repose ma decouverte. 

{1857:[3]; 1878:31} Le mouvement qui produit le son est toujours un 
mouvement de vibration (v. tous les physiciens)" 

What do we know, indeed, of the laws that govern the timbre peculiar to 
each sounding body? What clear explanation can we give of the 
modifications imparted to the aerial waves by the articulated voice? 
Here are the objects of study investlgltlons approachable as of this moment 
by the process which I shall have the honor of submitting to you. I am 
engaged in studying by sight the difference of sounds and noises, in 
solving one part of the mystery of the numerical harmony of agitations 
which is established in animate and inanimate bodies under the 
influence of a prolonged sound. 

Here are the theoretical principles upon which my discovery is based. 

"The motion that produces sound is always a 
motion of vibration" (cf. all physicists) 

Quand un corps resonne, que ce soit un corps brut, un instrument ou 
une voix, c'est qu'il est le siege de vibrations moleculaires; ses 
oscillations se propagent a toute matiere ponderable ambiante, qui 
execute des vibrations svnchrones a celles du corps primitivement 
ebranle (Longet et Masson). 21 

"When a body resonates, whether this be a rough body, an instrument or 
a voice, it is the seat of molecular vibrations; its oscillations 
propagate themselves in any ponderable surrounding material, which 
carries out vibrations synchronous with those of the body primitively 
agitated" (Longet and Masson). 

Les vibrations aeriennes ne se transmettent aux corps solides qu'en 
perdant considerablement de leur intensite. Au contraire, elles se 
communiquent a eux sans s'amoindrir et d'autant plus facilement qu'on 
amincit davantage ces corps et qu'on les reduit a une plus faible 
epaisseur 22 (les physiologistes, Miiller 23 entre autres). 

"Aerial vibrations do not transmit themselves to solid bodies without 
losing considerably in their intensity. Contrariwise, they are 
communicated to them without being reduced and all the more easily 
the more one thins down these bodies and reduces them to a very slight 
thickness" (physiologists, J. Miiller inter alia). 

15 1878 omits "en effet" 

16 1878 has "Voila des genres d'etude" = "Here are the kinds of study" 

17 1878 has "de soulever le mystere" = "in solving the mystery" 

18 1878 has "ou" = "or" 

19 1878 omits "v." 

20 1878 places quotations in quotation marks (one is missing just before endnote C), capitalizes the beginning of parenthetical citations, omits all emphases 
shown through double underlining, and places a period at the end of each quotation and another at the end of each parenthetical citation, within the parentheses. 

21 1878 omits comma 

"" 1878 inserts endnote B (p. [69]): "Ce principe, vrai avec certaines restrictions, m'a mis longtemps hors de la voie pour ecrire l'articulation d'une maniere 
suffisamment apparente. En effet, j'ai cherche la minceur du tympan, qui est tres-favorable a l'inscription de l'onde condensante, mais je suis revenu depuis 
1861, apres ma complete separation d'avec M. Kcenig (voir comm. a l'Acad., pieces n° 6) aux plaques minces pour ecrire les ondes d'inflexion et tournantes." = 
"This principle, true with certain restrictions, put me for a long time out of the way of writing articulation in a sufficiently apparent manner. Indeed, I was 

Non-seulement les lames minces et les membranes tendues sont 
susceptibles de vibrer par jnfluence . mais encore elles se trouvent dans 
des conditions qui les rendent aptes a etre influencees par un nombre 
quelconque de vibrations (Savart) 

"Not only are thin plates and stretched membranes susceptible to 
vibrating by influence, but they also find themselves in conditions 
which render them apt to be influenced by any number 
of vibrations" (Savart) 

L'air seul conduit bien les voix et les articulations (Miiller). 

"The air alone conducts voices and articulations well" (Miiller). 

La membrane du tympan," 3 et meme l'organe de l'ouie tout entier, 
execute dans l'unite de temps un nombre de vibrations egal a celui des 
vibrations du corps sonore (Longet et Masson). 

L'intensite du son croit avec la densite du milieu dans lequel a lieu sa 
production (tous les physiciens). 

II s'agissait, conformement a ces principes 26 de construire un appareil 
qui reproduisit par un trace graphique les details les plus delicats du 
mouvement des ondes sonores. Je devais arriver ensuite, par le secours 
de moyens mathematiques, a dechiffrer cette stenographic naturelle. 

"The membrane of the tympanum and even the whole organ of hearing 
carries out in a unit of time a number of vibrations equal to the 
vibrations of the sounding body" (Longet and Masson). 

"The intensity of the sound grows with the density of the medium in 
which its production takes place" (all physicists). 

It was a matter of constructing, in accordance with these principles, an 
apparatus that would reproduce by a graphic trace the most delicate 
details of the motion of the sound waves. I had then to manage, with 
the help of mathematical means, to decipher this natural stenography. 

Pour resoudre le probleme, j'ai cru ne pouvoir {1857:[4]} mieux faire 
que de copier en partie l'oreille humaine, dans son appareil de physique 
seulement ," en l'appropriant au but que je me propose;" car ce sens 
admirable est le prototype des instruments propres a s'impressionner 
des vibrations sonores. 

To solve the problem, I did not believe it possible to do better 
than to copy in part the human ear, in its physical apparatus only, 
adapting it for the goal I have in mind; for this admirable sense 
is the prototype of instruments suitable for being impressed by 
sound vibrations. 

Comme precedents, j'avais devant moi la sirene de Cagniard-Latour, la 
roue dentee de Savart, propres toutes deux a compter les vibrations du 
corps sonore; 29 le precede de Wertheim pour ecrire les vibrations d'un 

As precedents, I had before me the siren of Cagniard-Latour, the 
toothed wheel of Savart, both suitable for counting the vibrations of the 
sounding body; Wertheim' s process for writing the vibrations of a 

looking for thinness in the tympanum, which is very favorable to the inscription of the condensation wave, but I have returned since 1861, after my complete 
separation from Mr. Kcenig (see comm. to the Acad., documents no. 6), to thin plates for writing the waves of inflection and rotating [waves]." 

23 1878 text has "J. Miiller." 

24 1878 text inserts endnote C (p. [69]): "Mes experiences de 1861 demontrent au contraire que les solides, comme la chaine des osselets de l'oreille moyenne par 
exemple, conduisent mieux les articulations que l'air lui-meme. (Voir piece n° 6.)" = "My experiments of 1861 show on the contrary that solids, as for example 
the chain of the ossicles of the middle ear, conduct articulations better than the air itself (see document no. 6)." 

25 1878 omits the comma 

26 1878 inserts a comma 

27 1878 omits emphasis 

1878 has comma in place of semicolon 

1878 omits "propres toutes deux a compter les vibrations du corps sonore" and semicolon 


diapason; le tour electro-magnetique decrit par M. Pouillet pour le 
meme objet. J'ai fait un pas de plus: j'ecris non les seules vibra- 
{1878:32}tions du corps qui vibre primitivement, mais celles transmises 
mediatement par un fluide, 30 c'est-a-dire par l'air ambiant. 

tuning fork; the electromagnetic tour described by Mr. Pouillet for the 
same object. I have taken a step further: I write not only the vibrations 
of the bodies that primitively vibrate, but those transmitted mediately 
by a fluid — that is, by the surrounding air. 

Voici comment je precede: 

Here is how I proceed: 

Je couvre une bande de cristal d'une couche egale, opaque 32 mais 
excessivement mince de noir de fumee. Je dispose au-dessus dans une 
position fixe un cornet acoustique insonore ayant a sa petite extremite la 
diametre d'une piece de cinq francs. Cette extremite inferieure se 
compose d'une partie recouvrante a frottement impermeable a l'air. 34 
Le corps de mon cornet est muni d'une membrane a sa petite 
extremite. — 36 C'est le tympan physiologique. La partie recouvrante de 
1' instrument est armee 
fenetre ovale. 

d'une autre membrane, analogue de la 

I cover a strip of crystal with an even, opaque but 

exceedingly thin stratum of lampblack. I arrange above in a 

fixed position a non-resonant acoustic trumpet having at its small end 

the diameter of a five franc piece. This lower end consists 

of a covering part with friction, impermeable to the air. 

The body of my trumpet is provided with a membrane at its small 

end. — This is the physiological tympanum. The instrument's covering 

part is fitted with another membrane, analogous [to that] of 

the oval window. 

Ces deux membranes possedent chacune un anneau prehenseur 41 a vis 
pour en regler a volonte 42 la tension. En comprimant a" 1 ^ ^"" 6 "', a 
l'aide d'une echelle millimetrique tracee sur la partie couverte du 
cornet, l'air enferme dans la caisse comprise entre les deux 
membranes, je leur donne le degre de sensibilite desirable, sans 
qu'elles deviennent folles . 

These two membranes each possess a gripper ring with screw 
to govern the tension thereof at will. In A methodlcally compressing, by 
the aid of a millimetric scale traced on the covered part of the 
trumpet, the air shut up in the box contained between the two 
membranes, I give them the desirable degree of sensitivity without 
them going crazy. 

1878 omits "par un fluide" 

31 1878 has period 

32 1878 has "opaque, egale" 

i3 1878 inserts endnote D (p. [69]): "Dans le certificat d'addition du 29 juillet 1859 la bande de cristal a ete remplacee par moi avec beaucoup d'avantage par un 
cylindre calibre s'avancant au moyen d'un axe helicoi'dal dans un ecrou. Une feuille de papier lisse, tendue sur le cylindre, recoit la couche de noir de fumee." = 
"In the certificate of addition of 29 luly 1859 the strip of crystal was replaced by me to great advantage with a fluted cylinder advancing by means of a helicoidal 
axle in a nut. A sheet of smooth paper, stretched on the cylinder, receives the stratum of lampblack." 

1878 omits "a l'air" 

1878 has "son" 

1878 omits the dash 

1878 omits "de l'instrument" 

Scott had first written "mu-," presumably "muni," and then wrote "armee" in over the top 

1878 inserts "[a celle]" = "[to that]" 

1878 omits paragraph break 

1878 omits "prehenseur" 

1878 omits "a volonte" 

The word "couverte" is corrected from an initial "recouvrante" in 1857; 1878 has "a l'aide d'un tatonnement facile" = "by the aid of an easy groping" 

1878 has only "dans cette caisse" = "in this box" 


{1857:[5]} Au centre de la membrane exterieure 47 je fixe par un atome 


de cire a modeler speciale une soie de sanglier, longue d'un 
centimetre ou meme plus, fine mais convenablement rigide. 49 

Alors faisant glisser horizontalement ma plaque de cristal, avec une 
vitesse d'un metre par seconde, dans une coulisse bien dressee, je lui 
presente la partie inferieure du cornet, le style affleurant la couche de 
fumee sans presser le cristal. Je fixe avec soin 3 le cornet dans cette 
position. 51 

On parle au voisinage du pavilion; les membranes vibrent, le style 
decrit des mouvements de pendule, 3 il trace des figures, larges si le son 

est intense, petites s'il est faible; 

54 bien 55 

separees quand il est grave, 

rapprochees s'il est aigu; tremblees et inegales si le timbre est voile; 
egales et nettes s'il est pur. 

Je tire des epreuves, positives ou negatives, 57 de cette nouvelle graphie , 
epreuves bien grossieres encore, mais facilementperfectionnables. 

At the center of the exterior membrane I fix with a mote 
of special modeling wax a boar' s bristle a centimeter 
or even more in length, fine but suitably rigid. 

Then making my crystal plate slide horizontally at a 

speed of one meter per second in a well formed groove, I present 

to it the lower part of the trumpet, the stylus grazing the stratum of 

black without pressing the crystal. I carefully fix the trumpet in this 


One speaks in the vicinity of the pavilion; the membranes vibrate, the 
stylus describes the pendulum movements; it traces figures, large if the 
sound is intense, small if it is weak, * e " separated if it is low, 
close together if it is high; shaky and uneven if the timbre is muffled; 
even and clear if it is pure. 

I make prints, positive or negative, of this new writing, 
rather crude prints still, but easily perfectible. 

45 1878 has "je donne aux membranes" = "I give to the membranes" 

46 1878 omits "sans qu'elles deviennent folles " and paragraph break 

47 1878 has "externe" = "external" 

48 1878 omits "speciale" 

49 1878 omits emphasis on "convenablement" and inserts endnote E (p. [69]): "J'ai du bientot abandonner cette disposition des membranes, ce style de soie de 
sanglier et ce mode d'attache avec de la cire. Tout cela est un simple tatonnement de ce qu'on appelle Yappareil a la ficelle." = "I soon had to abandon this 
arrangement of the membrane, this stylus of boar's bristle, and this method of attaching with wax. All that is a simple groping towards what is called the 
apparatus with the string." 

50 1878 has "solidement" = "solidly" 

31 1878 inserts endnote F (p. [69]): "Cet ajustement de plaque horizontale est detestable. Mais je ne connaissais pas encore le vibroscope de M. Duhamel avec 
son cylindre a pas d'helice qui ne date que de 1853." = "This horizontal plate arrangement is detestable. But I did not yet know of the vibroscope of M. Duhamel 
with its helically threaded cylinder, which dates back only to 1853." 

52 1878 has colon 

53 1878 has semicolon 

54 1878 has comma 

55 The word "bien" is written in the margin of 1857; omitted in 1878 

36 1878 omits the emphases on the various adjectives and inserts endnote G (p. 70): "Toute cette theorie n'est qu'en partie juste: il y a a tenir compte du ton du 
conduit qui joue un grand role dans l'amplitude des figures." = "All this theory is right only in part: there is to be taken into account the tone of the conduit, 
which plays a great role in the amplitude of the figures." 
' 7 1878 omits commas around "positives ou negatives" 


Mon appareil demonstratif du principe de la phonautographie 58 
se compose done 59 de quatre parties principales. 60 

1° Une conque acoustique, propre a conduire et condenser les vibrations 
aeriennes. Un systeme de suspension analogue au porte-loupe, mais 
soutenu pres du cornet par un support a vis. Ce systeme est " destine a 
permettre toutes sortes de positions de l'instrument. 

2° Un tympan de baudruche anglaise, forte mais 63 tres-souple et tres- 
mince; puis {1878:33} une membrane externe. La distance entre ces 
deux membranes augmente ou diminue a ma volonte; par consequent, la 
conche d'air incluse se trouve plus ou moins comprime entre elles 
selon le besoin. 

3° Un style charge d'ecrire et place convenablement pour toucher un 
peu obliquement a la couche au plan de la couche sensible. 

{1857:[6]} 4° Une table de cristal mobile suivant certaines lois de 
regularite, couverte en dessus d'une belle couche de noir de fumee, 
en dessous d'un papier muni de divisions millimetriques dans les deux 



My apparatus demonstrative of the principle of phonautography 
consists, then, of four principal parts. 

1. An acoustic concha, suitable for conducting and condensing aerial 
vibrations. A system of suspension analogous to the lens-holder, but 
held up near the trumpet by a support with screw. This system is 
intended to allow for all sorts of positions of the instrument. 

2. A tympanum of English goldbeater's skin, strong but very flexible 
and very thin; then an external membrane. The distance between the 
two membranes increases or decreases at my will; consequently, the 
enclosed box of air finds itself more or less compressed between them 
according to need. 

3. A stylus responsible for writing and placed suitably to touch the 
stratum the plane of the sensitive stratum. 

4. A mobile crystal table following certain laws of 
regularity, covered above with a good stratum of lampblack, 
underneath with a paper provided with millimetric divisions in both 

58 1878 omits "de la phonautographie" 

59 1878 omits "done" 

60 1878 has colon 

61 1878 omits "aeriennes" 

62 1878 omits "mais soutenu pres du cornet par un support a vis. Ce systeme est...." 

63 1878 omits comma and "forte mais" 

64 1878 inserts endnote H (p. 70): "Voici pose des l'origine le principe du tympan externe et du tympan interne qui jouera un si grand role dans mon second 
appareil de 1861. M. Kcenig, en vertu du droit exclusif de construction que je lui avais concede, s'est oppose a cette complication de l'appareil, qui est reste 
rudimentaire malgre moi et destine seulement aux cabinets de physique." = "Here is laid down right from the start the principle of the external tympanum and the 
internal tympanum which will play so great a role in my second apparatus of 1861. Mr. Kcenig, in pursuance of the exclusive right of construction I had 
conceded to him, opposed this complication of the apparatus, which remained rudimentary in spite of me, and intended only for cabinets of physics." 

65 1878 has only "l'air est" for "la conche d'air incluse se trouve" = "the air is more or less compressed between them according to need" 

66 1878 includes another paragraph here: "La tension ou la detente des membrane estreglee par deux anneaux." = "The tension or relaxation of the membrane is 
governed by two rings." 

67 1878 omits "et" 

68 1878 has "pour toucher un peu obliquement le plan de la couche sensible" 

69 1878 omits "de regularite" and comma 

70 1878 has "de beau noir de fumee" = "with good lampblack" 

71 1878 has "muni d'une echelle de divisions millimetriques" = "provided with a scale of millimetric divisions" and inserts endnote I (p. 70): "Ce papier etait 
utile pour faire apparaitre en blanc l'ecriture phonautographique. Mais les divisions millimetriques sont sans utilite puisque le mouvement uniforme de la plaque 


Convenablement construit, cet appareil me parait propre a fournir des 
aujourd'hui un accordeur universel . 


Quand il s'agira de stenographier 73 les vocalises ou le son d'un 
instrument, je crois qu'on pourra y 74 appliquer, au lieu de 75 membranes, 
un systeme de lamelles 76 formant clavier et muni d'une rasette 
regulatrice et des styles. 77 

Pour p recueillir 78 la parole a distance 79 on pourra augmenter le 
systeme d'un appareil de renforcement des vibrations dont le principe 
serait emprunte a 1' experience comme de Pelisow. 

Properly built, this apparatus seems to me suitable to furnish as of 
today a universal tuner. 

When it will be a question of stenographing vocalises or the sound of an 
instrument, I believe one will be able to apply therein, instead of 
membranes, a system of plates forming a keyboard and provided with a 
tuning wire and styli. 

For collecting speech at a distance, one will be able to augment the 
system with an apparatus for reinforcing the vibrations, the principle of 
which would be borrowed from the experiment like Pelisow' s. 

Pour ces deux derniers usages, toutefois, il faudra appliquer " a l'une 
des parties de l'instrument, table ou cornet, un mouvement semblable a 

For these last two uses it will, however, be necessary to apply to one of 
the parts of the instrument, table or trumpet, a movement similar to 

n'est pas assure. Dans le certificat de 1859 le diapason de 250 vibrations doubles a remedie a cette difficulte de mesurer l'ecriture obtenue." = "This paper was 
useful for causing the phonautographic writing to appear in white. But the millimetric divisions are without utility because the uniform motion of the plate is not 
assured. In the certificate of 1859 the tuning fork of 250 double vibrations resolved this difficulty of measuring the obtained writing." 

72 1878 inserts endnote K (p. 70): "Cet accordeur universel ne pourra etre obtenu que lorsque l'instrument ecrira convenablement tous les instruments a corde et 
par les moyens du second appareil." = "This universal tuner will be obtainable only when the instrument properly writes all the string instruments and by means 
of the second apparatus." 

73 1878 has "Pour stenographier" = "For stenographing...." 

74 1878 omits "y" 

75 1878 has "a la place des" 

76 1878 has "de minces lamelles" = "of thin plates" 

1 "et" is written over another word, possibly "ses." 1878 has "de styles" and inserts endnote L (p. 70): "Indication des l'origine de l'invention de l'emploi des 
lamelles minces retrouve vingt ans plus tard par M. Edison." = "Indication right from the start of the invention of the use of thin plates found twenty years later 
by Mr. Edison." 

78 1878 has "Pour prendre" = "For taking...." 

79 1878 has comma 

80 1878 omits "comme"; thus specifically "the experiment of Pelisow" 

81 1878 inserts endnote M (p. 70): "L'experience de Pelisow [sic] consiste en ceci: 

"On fixe un clou a une muraille et a ce clou on suspend une corde tendue par un poids. Si Ton fait vibrer la corde, on entend a peine le son; mais si, a 
l'aide d'un verge solide, on met le clou en communication avec le chevalet d'une basse posee sur une table, on entend la basse fortement resonner a l'unisson de 
la corde et le son est considerablement renforce." = 

"The experiment of Pelisow consists of this: 

"One fixes a nail in a wall and from this nail one suspends a string stretched by a weight. If one causes the string to vibrate, one hardly hears the sound; 
but if, with the aid of a solid rod, one puts the nail in communication with the bridge of a bass placed on a table, one hears the bass strongly resonate in unison 
with the string and the sound is considerably reinforced." 

82 1878 has "Pour ces deux derniers usages il faudra, je crois, appliquer": "For these last two uses it will be necessary, I believe, to apply...." 


celui de la machine magneto-electrique a diviser 83 de M. Froment, afin 
de ne prendre que le nombre de vibrations necessaires a 1' appreciation 
d'un son; c'est-a-dire que le style devra se presenter dix fois seulement 
dans l'espace d'une seconde a la couche sensible. De plus apres chaque 
ligne la table devra avancer en largeur de l'intervalle d'une portee afin 
que les empreintes tracees par le style ne se recouvrent pas. 
{1878 text ends} 

that of the electromagnetic dividing machine of Mr. Froment, in order 
to take only the number of vibrations necessary for the appreciation 
of a sound; that is to say that the stylus will need to be presented ten 
times only in the space of a second to the sensitive stratum. Moreover, 
after each line the table will advance breadthwise by the interval of a 
scale so that the marks traced by the stylus do not overlap. 

Pour les sons tres faibles ou eloignes, je pense aussi qu'il y aura 
benefice a donner a la conque la forme d'une section conique dont le 
tympan, place obliquement, occuperait le foyer. 

{1857:[7]} Je vous prie, Monsieur le president, de vouloir bien porter 
ces faits a la connaissance de l'Academie. Voici comme preuve de mes 
assertions quelques epreuves de mes premiers essais, obtenues avec 
deux morceaux de verre et des membranes de papier. Les figures sont 
done encore inegales, la table de verre etant conduite a la main. Sous 
peu de jours j'aurai l'honneur de vous presenter des epreuves plus 

For very weak or distant sounds, I also think there will be 

benefit in giving the concha the form of a conic section of which the 

tympanum, placed obliquely, will occupy the focus. 

I ask you, Mr. President, to be so kind as to bring 
these facts to the attention of the Academic Here as proof of my 
assertions are some prints of my first attempts, obtained with 
two pieces of glass and from membranes of paper. The figures are 
thus still uneven, the glass table being driven by hand. Within 
a few days I shall have the honor of presenting you with more 
significant prints. 

ce 25 Janvier 

J'ai l'honneur d'etre, 
Monsieur le President, 

Votre respectueux serviteur 

Edouard-Leon Scott 
(rue Taranne, 6) 

this 25 January 

I have the honor to be, 

Mr. President, 
Your respectful servant 
Edouard-Leon Scott 

(rue Taranne, 6) 

[underneath, in ink] (parole) 

[underneath, in ink] (guitare) 
Premiers essais de fixation du 
son remontant a trois annees 
executes sans aucun instrument. 


1 (guitar) 

First attempts at fixing sound 
dating back three years carried 
out without any instrument. 

1878 omits "a diviser" 

1878 has "c'est-a-dire que le style devra ne se presenter que dix fois dans l'intervalle d'une seconde a la couche sensible et qu'a chaque ligne [terminee] la 
table avancera d'une portee en largeur afin que les empreintes tracees par le style ne se recouvrent pas" = "that is to say that the stylus will need to be presented 
only ten times in the interval of a second to the sensitive stratum and that with each [finished] line the table will advance by a scale breadthwise so that the marks 
traced by the stylus do not overlap"; brackets in original. 1878 also inserts endnote N (p. 70): "Ce principe de l'echappement de la substance sensible, a tous les 
dixiemes de seconde, pour ne recevoir qu'une minime partie des figures tracees, n'est pas a dedaigner et il faudra peut-etre y revenir quand l'appareil ecrira 
parfaitement." = "This principle of the escapement of the sensitive substance, at every tenth of a second, in order to receive only a tiny part of the traced figures, 
is not to be disdained and it will perhaps be necessary to return thereto when the apparatus writes perfectly." 


Brevet d' Invention 

Scott deposited his application for a patent on the phonautograph on 24 March 1857. It was duly recorded on 18 May 1857 under the number 
31470 and published in 1867 under the number 17897. Three variants are incorporated below: the original manuscript version of 1857, in Scott's 
own handwriting, preserved in the archives of the Institut National de la Propriete Industrielle ("1857"); the official print version published in 
volume 60 of the series Description des machines et precedes in 1867 ("1867"); and another print version published in Scott's self-published book 
of 1878, Le probleme de la parole s'ecrivant elle-meme ("1878"). An earlier version of this text and translation appears in First Sounds Working 
Paper 2, without 1867, but with a facsimile of 1857. I am indebted to Isabelle Trocheris for her review and correction of my initial transcription 
and translation, as well as to George Brock-Nannestad for an earlier translation produced in connection with the Scott sesquicentennial in 2007. 

{1857:2; 1867:358; 1878:34} Memoire descriptif a l'appui de la Descriptive memorandum in support of the 

demande d'un brevet de quinze ans faite par M. Scott (Leon-Edouard), request for a fifteen-year patent made by Mr. Scott (Leon-Edouard), 

a Paris, pour un precede au moyen duquel on peut ecrire et dessiner par in Paris, for a process by means of which one can write and draw by 

le son (acoustique), multiplier graphiquement les resultats obtenus et en sound (acoustic), graphically multiply the results obtained, and 

faire des applications industrielles. make industrial uses thereof. 

Le precede que j'ai invente, completement inconnu jusqu'ici 86 et pour The process I have invented, hitherto completely unknown, and for 

lequel je demande un brevet, consiste a fixer un style simple ou which I am requesting a patent, consists of fastening a simple or 

compose vers le centre d'une membrane mince placee a l'extremite composite stylus near the center of a thin membrane placed at the end of 

d'un conduit acoustique quelconque. 88 Ce style affleure legerement une any acoustic conduit. This stylus lightly grazes a substance 

substance sensible aux plus legers frottements, comme une couche de sensitive to the lightest friction, such as for example a stratum of 

noir de fumee par exemple, substance deposee sur un verre, un metal lampblack, a substance deposited on a glass, a metal, 

ou meme une feuille de papier ou d'etoffe. La couche sensible passe or even a piece of paper or fabric. The sensitive stratum passes 

sous le style avec une vitesse reguliere et determinee." Le style trace, under the stylus at a regular and determined speed. When one 

quand on parle, qu'on {1878:35} chante ou qu'on joue d'un instrument speaks, sings, or plays an instrument in the presence of the acoustic 

en presence du conduit acoustique, des figures ou des dessins en rapport conduit, the stylus traces figures or drawings in keeping with the 

avec les sons produits. " Je fixe ensuite cette nouvelle graphie par une sounds produced. Afterwards I fix this novel writing by an 

85 1867 text is headed "17897. I BREVET D' INVENTION DE QUINZE ANS, En date du 25 mars 1857. I Au sieur SCOTT, a Paris. I Pour un appareil permettant 
de recevoir les vibrations produites par le son sur une membrane mince et d'en tirer quelques applications." = "17897. I FIFTEEN- YEAR PATENT, Dated 25 
March 1857. I To Mr. SCOTT, in Paris. I For an apparatus allowing for the reception of vibrations produced by sound on a thin membrane and to make some 
applications thereof." 1878 text has only "Memoire descriptif a l'appui de la demande d'un brevet de quinze ans pour, etc." 

86 1878 text inserts comma 

87 1867 text omits "completement. ..brevet" 

88 1867 text inserts paragraph break 

89 1867 and 1878 texts insert comma 
,0 1867 text inserts paragraph break 

91 1867 text inserts comma followed by "comme cela se pratique dans les experiences ordinaires d'acoustique." = "as it is applied in ordinary experiments of 
acoustics." — and then a paragraph break 
,2 1867 text inserts paragraph break 


immersion dans un carbure liquide, suivie d'un bain dans de l'eau 
albumineuse. Je tire aussi directement des epreuves dites negatives ou 
indirectement des epreuves positives , 93 par la photographie ou le 
transport sur pierre etc. 96 

immersion in a liquid carburet, followed by a bath of 
albuminous water. I then make prints called negatives 
directly, or positive prints indirectly by photography or 
transfer to stone, etc. 

A l'aide de ce precede et des pieces de rechange du 
phonautographe (fig. 2, 3, 4, 5 du dessin a l'appui), 97 je recueille la 
trace acoustique de la parole a distance, du chant 98 de la voix et de 
differents instruments. 99 Je me propose d'appliquer mon precede a la 
construction d'un instrument diviseur, a celle d'un accordeur 
mathematique de tous les instruments, d'un stenographe de la voix et 
des instruments, a l'etude des conditions de sonorite de diverses 
substances commerciales et alliages et a produire des dessins 
industriels pour broderies, filigranes, bijouterie, abat-jour, illustration 
des livres d'un genre tout nouveau. 

La figure premiere de la planche 103 indique nettement mon 104 precede 
dans sa plus extreme simplicite, precede qui est dans ma pensee 105 a 
peu pres independant du nombre des membranes minces, de leur 
grandeur, de la forme et des dimensions du conduit sur lequel elles sont 
appliquees, du mode de suspension du phonautographe et de la nature 

With the aid of this process and the interchangeable parts of the 
phonautograph (fig. 2, 3, 4, 5 of the supporting drawing), I collect the 
acoustic trace of speech at a distance, of the song of the voice and of 
various instruments. I propose to apply my process to the 
construction of a divider instrument; to that of a mathematical 
tuner for all instruments, of a stenographer for the voice and of 
instruments; to the study of the conditions of sonority of various 
commercial substances and alloys; and to produce industrial designs 
for embroideries, filigrees, jewelry, shades, illustration 
of books of an entirely new kind. 

The first figure of the plate clearly shows my process in its most 
extreme simplicity, a process which is in my mind roughly independent 
of the number of thin membranes, of their size, of the form and 
dimensions of the conduit to which they have been applied, of the 
manner of suspension of the phonautograph, and of the nature 

1867 omits emphasis 

94 1867 inserts paragraph break; 1878 inserts "(O)" here, referring to an endnote on p. 70: "Ce bain a ete remplace dans le certificat d'addition par un bain 
d'alcool suivi d'un autre bain dans l'alcool contenant en dissolution une resine telle que la sandaraque." = "This bath was replaced in the certificate of addition 
by a bath of alcohol followed by another bath in alcohol containing in solution a resin such as sandarach." 

95 1867 and 1878 omit comma 

96 1867 inserts comma before "etc."; 1878 omits "etc." 

97 1867 substitutes "fig. 2, pi. XXXI"; 1878 omits comma 

98 1878 inserts comma 

99 1867 inserts comma and "fig. 3." — then a paragraph break 

100 1857 has comma here, but with pen marks through it that may indicate erasure; 1867 and 1878 have no comma 

101 1867 omits "commercielles et alliages" and inserts comma 

102 1867 substitutes "etc." for "abat-jour, illustration des livres d'un genre tout nouveau." 1878 inserts "(P)" here, referring to an endnote on pp. 70-71: "J'ai 
completement neglige l'etude de ce genre d' applications que j'avais brevete un peu a la legere sur le conseil d'amis toujours enclins a recommander quand meme 
des applications industrielles. Je suis revenu avant 1859 a une graphie du son reguliere et qui ne laisse plus de place {71} aux divagations du style trop long et 
trop elastique que j 'employais a l'origine." = "I have completely disregarded the study of applications of this kind which I patented a little rashly on the advice of 
friends always inclined to recommend industrial applications in any and every case. I returned before 1859 to a regular writing of sound and one that leaves no 
more room for ramblings of the too-long and too-elastic stylus I employed at the beginning." 

1867 substitutes "La figure 1, pi. XXXI," and 1878 also substitutes "1" for "premiere'' 

1867 substitutes "le" 

1867 omits "dans ma pensee" 


du moteur qui imprime la vitesse a la couche sensible. 

of the motor which imparts speed to the sensitive stratum. 

{1857:3} Legende explicative du dessin a l'appui. 


La grandeur de mes appareils est indeterminee, 

c'est-a-dire qu'elle s'etend dans les limites de vibration des 
membranes. Neanmoins, pour fixer les idees, la figure 1 peut etre 
supposee de grandeur naturelle, 109 les figures 2, 3, 4, 5 a l'echelle du 
sixieme; la figure 6 a l'echelle du quinzieme. 

Les figures 2, 3, 4, 5 sont des variantes d'un meme appareil que 
j'appellerai phonautographe ; ' ' ° les me mes lettres ou abreviations 
designent les memes pieces dans chaque figure 

[membr (fig. 1); tymp (fig. 2, 3, 4, 5)." 2 — membrane" 3 (de caoutchouc 
mince, de baudruche, de vessie ou de papier prepare) et 1 14 qui recoit 
l'impression des vibrations et ondulations du courant sonore amene par 
le tuyau acoustique. Cette membrane qui," 3 dans certaines 
applications de la phon{1867:359}autographie, peut etre placee 
per{1878:36}pendiculairement a l'axe du conduit, est oblique dans mes 
figures" 6 afin de s'impressionner des ondes dites d' inflexion . 

f ann. — anneau prehenseur mobile, suppose applique a toutes les 
membranes du phonautographe et qui sert a leur donner le 
degre de tension voulu. 

Explanatory legend for the supporting drawing. 

Observations. — The size of my apparatuses is not determined, 

that is, it extends to the limits of vibration of the 

membranes. Nevertheless, to establish the ideas, figure 1 may be 

supposed of natural size, figures 2, 3, 4, 5 at a scale of 

one sixth; figure 6 at a scale of one fifteenth. 

Figures 2, 3, 4, 5 are variants of the same apparatus, which 
I call a phonauto graph; the same letters or abbreviations 
designate the same pieces in each figure. 

[membr (fig. 1); tymp (fig. 2, 3, 4, 5). — membrane (of thin rubber, 

goldbeater's skin, bladder or prepared paper) which receives 

the impression of the vibrations and waves of the sound current brought 

forth by the acoustic tube. This membrane, which in certain 

applications of phonautography may be placed perpendicular 

to the axis of the conduit, is oblique in my figures so that it might be 

impressed by the waves called those of inflection. 

[ann. — movable gripper ring, supposed to be applied to all the 
membranes of the phonautograph, which serves to give them the 
desired degree of tension. 

106 1867 

107 1867 

108 187g 

109 1867 

110 1878 

111 1878 

112 1878 

113 1878 

114 1867 

115 1867 

116 1867 

117 1878 

omits the section heading and begins with "La grandeur...." 

inserts paragraph break 

omits comma 

omits the remainder of this paragraph and the entirety of the next one 

has comma 

inserts colon 

omits opening parenthesis and closing period 

capitalizes "Membrane"; 1867 paragraph begins "m, fig. 1, est une membrane...." 

omits "et" 

places comma before "qui" 

substitutes "dispositions," for "figures" 

capitalizes "Ann." and "Anneau"; 1867 paragraph opens "a estun anneau tendeur, mobile, suppose.. 


rdir. 118 — directeur du style — Petit cylindre de matiere tres legere" 9 
perfore suivant son axe et colle fixement " a la membrane. " II est 
destine a recevoir le style et a le maintenir dans une direction fixe et 
determine e. 

[dir. — stylus director — Small cylinder of very light material 
perforated along its axis and glued firmly to the membrane. It is 
intended to receive the stylus and to maintain it in a fixed and 
determined direction. 

[ sty. — style, *" simple ou compose a son extremite " et qui ecrit les 
mouvements de la membrane sur la couche sensible mobile. 

[sty. — stylus, simple or composite at its end and which writes the 
movements of the membrane on the mobile sensitive stratum. 

[couch. * — Couche sensible formee de noir de fumee ou d'une autre 
substance colorante deposee par volatilisation sur un papier, une etoffe 
ou une plaque de metal ou de verre. 

Imfund 1 (fig. 2), infund 2 (fig. 3 et 5), infund 3 (fig. 4). — Diverses formes 
de l'infundibulum (tronconique, parabolique, elliptique, surface de 
revolution), 123 selon le but special qu'on se propose, recueillir des sons 
forts ou faibles, proches ou un peu plus eloignes, ecriture, stenographic 
du chant 126 ou production de dessins. 127 

L' extremite inferieure de chaque infundibulum est armee d'une 
membrane, perforee ou imperforee " selon les cas, qui s'approche ou 
s'eloigne de l'orifice de l'infundibulum au moyen d'un tirage indique 
dans les figures 2, 3, 4, 5 * et peut ainsi etre situe ou non sur un 
ventre ou un noeud de vibration. 

[couch. — Sensitive coating formed of lampblack or another coloring 
substance deposited by evaporation on a paper, a fabric, 
or a plate of metal or glass. 

[infund 1 (fig. 2), infund 1 (fig. 3 and 5), infund 3 (fig. 4). — Various forms 
of funnel (tronconic, parabolic, elliptical, surface of revolution), 
according to the particular goal being proposed: to collect sounds strong 
or weak, nearby or a little more distant; a writing, a stenography of 
song; or the production of drawings. 

The lower end of each funnel is fitted with a membrane, perforated or 
unperforated as the case may be, which is moved towards or 
away from the opening of the funnel by means of a slide shown in 
figures 2, 3, 4, 5, and which can in this manner be situated or not at an 
antinode or node of vibration. 

1878 capitalizes "Dir."; 1867 paragraph opens "d est le directeur du style; c'est un petite cylindre...." 
1867 inserts comma 

1867 omits "fixement"; 1878 has "fixement" 
1878 has m-dash 

1878 capitalizes "Sty." and "Style" 

1878 inserts comma; 1867 paragraph opens "Le style simple ou compose ecrit...." 
1878 capitalizes "Couch."; 1867 paragraph opens "La couche sensible est formee...." 

1867 opens "L'infundibulum, fig. 2, presente diverses formes, selon...." = "The funnel, fig. 2, presents various forms, according...." 
For "ecriture, stenographic du chant," 1878 has "ecriture stenographique du son" = "stenographic writing of sound" 

1867 has "...eloignes, obtenir l'ecriture, la stenographic du chant ou la production de dessins" = " obtain writing, the stenography of song or the 
production of drawings" 

128 1878 inserts comma 

129 1867 omits "indique dans les figures 2, 3, 4, 5" and inserts comma 

130 1878 has "situee" 




-Dans les figures 2, 3, 4 131 existe une piece composee, A, 132 la 

meme pour les differents infundibulums, piece tronconique, ou 
cylindrique elliptique, et qui est formee de tubes recouvran[ts] 
d'un second tirage et d'une membrane avec son anneau et son style, 
membrane analogue de la fenetre ovale de l'ouie. 

{1857:4} Le tirage de cette piece A, 136 regie par une vis graduee, est 
destine a comprimer l'air entre les membranes 137 si elles sont 
imperforees et a regler la longueur du tuyau pour les sons graves ou 
aigus propres aux differents instruments. 

[B (fig. 5). 13 ' — Caisse a air, 140 ou caisse du tympan pour augmenter 
l'intensite des sons et la sensibilite des membranes pour les sons faibles 
ou eloignes. 141 Dans cette figure, 142 les tirages 143 au nombre de trois, 
agissent {1878:37} dans des limites plus 144 etendues, et font varier selon 
le besoin 3 la capacite interieure de l'instrument et sa longueur. 

rtir. , tirages 146 (fig. 2, 3, 4, 5). — tirages 147 appliques a des parties 
cylindriques ou faiblement coniques, et qui doivent etre, autant que 
faire se peut, impermeables a l'air. lis s'operent par glissement de 

A — In figures 2, 3, 4 there is a composite piece, A, the 

same for the various funnels: a tronconic or elliptically 

cylindrical piece formed of overlapping tubes 

of a second slide and of a membrane with its ring and its stylus, a 

membrane analogous to the oval window of the ear. 

The slide of this piece A, adjusted by a graduated screw, is 
intended to compress the air between the membranes, if these are 
unperforated, and to adjust the length of the tube for the low or high 
sounds characteristic of various instruments. 

[B (fig. 5) — Air chamber, or chamber of the tympanum, for augmenting 
the intensity of sounds and the sensitivity of the membranes for weak or 
distant sounds. In this figure the slides, three in number, 
act within the widest limits and cause the internal capacity of the 
instrument and its length to vary according to need. 

[tir, tirages (fig. 2, 3, 4, 5). — slides, applied to parts 
cylindrical or slightly conical, which should as far as 
possible be impermeable to air. They work by the sliding of 

1878 inserts comma. 

1878 omits comma before "A"; 1867 paragraph opens "A est une piece composee, qui est la meme...." 

1867 has "tronc-conique ou cylindrique, elliptique," while 1878 has "tronc-conique ou cylindrique-elliptique"; the spacing between "cylindrique elliptique" in 
the original is oddly compressed but doesn't appear hyphenated 
1867 omits "et qui" 

Word runs off page in 1857 text; interpolated on basis of 1867 and 1878 texts; 1867 text also inserts comma 
1867 omits "A" 
1867 inserts comma 

1867 substitutes "si elles ne sont pas perforees" 
A and B are italicized in 1878; there is no "[" before B. 
1867 paragraph opens "B, caisse a air ou caisse...." 
1867 inserts paragraph break 
1878 omits comma 
1867 and 1878 insert comma 
1867 omits "plus" 

1867 omits comma before "et font varier" but sets off "selon le besoin" in commas. 
1878 capitalizes "Tir.-Tirages" 

1878 capitalizes "Tirages"; 1867 paragraph opens "T, tirages appliques...." 
1878 omits comma 



surfaces polies les unes sur les autres ' 

et sont regies par une vis de 

[fig. 6. — couche sensible qui passe sous le style, 3 mis en 
mouvement par Taction d'une trompette a distance, " avec une vitesse 
determinee par le mouvement d'un pendule ( pend. ) et rendue 
uniforme par le moyen d'un moteur 154 emprunte a l'horlogerie ou a 
l'electro-aimant, 153 moteur qui n'est pas represente dans la figure. 
{1867 ends} 

Pour plus de clarte j' annexe au dessin de mes appareils une epreuve en 
double des figures acoustiques de la voix, du cornet a piston, des 
dessins que j'obtiens avant toute construction d'appareils et par l'usage 
unique du precede de la figure 1. {1878 ends} 


polished surfaces one over the other and are adjusted by a graduated 

[fig. 6. — sensitive stratum that passes under the stylus set in 
motion by the action of a trumpet at a distance, at a speed 
determined by the movement of a pendulum and made 
uniform by means of a motor borrowed from clockwork or from 
the electromagnet, a motor not represented in the figure. 

For greater clarity, I am appending to the drawing of my apparatuses a 
print in duplicate of the acoustic figures of the voice, of the cornet — of 
drawings I obtain before any construction of apparatuses and by the sole 
use of the process of figure 1. 

[underneath, in ink] phonautographie de la voix humaine a distance. 

phonautography of the human voice at a distance. 


Planche a l'appui de la demande d'un brevet de quinze ans par M. Ed.- 
Leon Scott pour un precede au moyen duquel on peut ecrire et dessiner 
par le son (acoustique), multiplier les graphiquement les resultats 
obtenus et en faire des applications industrielles. 

Plate in support of the request for a fifteen-year patent by Mr. Ed.- 
Leon Scott for a process by means of which one can write and draw 
by sound (acoustic), graphically multiply the results 
obtained, and make industrial uses thereof. 


1878 inserts comma 

1878 has "[Couch, (fig. 6). — Couche. 

' 1867 paragraph opens "Dans la figure 3 on voit que la couche sensible passe sous le style mis....'' 
under the stylus put..." 

152 1878 omits comma 

153 1867 omits "( pend.) " 

154 1867 has "et que rend uniforme un moteur" = "and which makes uniform a motor" 

155 1867 has "l'electricite" 

= "In figure 3 it is seen that the sensitive stratum passes 


Graphie du Son 

On 22 July 1857, Scott wrote up a brief statement of his latest thoughts about phonautography, deposited with the Academie des Sciences de 
I'lnstitut de France in a second sealed packet on 27 July. It was not opened until 1985. 

{envelope} Graphie du son. 

No. 1688 

paquet cachete faisant suite a celui du 26 Janvier 1 857 

depose par M. Leon Scott 

Seance du 27 juillet 1857. 

Le depot est accepte flourens 

{[1]} Monsieur le president, 

Desirant aujourd'hui unir mes efforts a ceux de plusieurs savants pour 
tirer les consequences qui decoulent de l'emploi de mon precede pour la 
fixation de la graphie naturelle des sons, je viens vous prier d' accepter 
la depot d'un paquet cachete faisant suite a celui du 26 Janvier dernier. 

Je suis arrive a l'aide d'experiences a reconnaitre les 
principes suivants: 

Writing of sound. 

No. 1688 

sealed packet following up on that of 26 January 1857 

deposited by Mr. Leon Scott 

Meeting of 27 July 1857. 

The deposit is accepted flourens 

Mr. President, 

Desiring today to unite my efforts with those of several scientists to 
draw conclusions which arise from the use of my process for the fixing 
of the natural writing of sounds, I am going to ask you to accept the 
deposit of a sealed packet following up on that of the 26th January last. 

I have managed by the aid of experiments to recognize the 
following principles: 

Les membranes minces sont les intermediaries qui nous transmettent les 
mouvements vibratoires du milieu fluide dans lequel nous sommes 
plonges, tous les sons passant par elle, {[2]} les membranes doivent etre 
disposees a l'extremite d'un conduit acoustique que insonore afin de 
s'impressionner uniquement des mouvements de la colonne d'air 

Thin membranes are the intermediaries which transmit to us the 
vibratory motions of the fluid medium in which we are 
immersed, all the sounds passing by it, the membranes must be 
arranged at the end of an acoustic conduit which is non-resonant in 
order to be impressed only by the motions of the enclosed column of 

Toute forme geometrale ou reguliere est impropre a un conduit 
acoustique qui ne doit etre qu'un simple collecteur d'ondes sc 
Toute masse d'air incluse dans une forme geometrique aurait 

Any geometrical or regular form is unsuited to an acoustic conduit 

which should be nothing but a simple collector of sound 

waves. Any mass of air enclosed in a geometrical form would have 

On the reverse is the inscription "ouvert le 9 mai 1985 I envoye a M. Lucas. I Jacquinot' 
* Written over "de" 

3 Written over "sonore" 

4 Written over "une" 
3 Written over "de" 

= "opened 9 May 1985 I sent to Mr. Lucas. I Jacquinot" 


un son propre qui troublerait 1' audition. II y a deux sortes de 
sons ou d'ondes sonores transmises par l'air; elles sont essentiellement 
distinctes: les sons provenant des vibrations primitives de solides; les 
sons provenant de vibrations primitives de fluides {[3]} a l'aide des 
precedes phonautographiques de mon invention, je A meproposede faire 6 
1' education des sourds muets par la palpitation des membranes montees 
a l'extremite d'un conduit; 

a proper tone which would confuse hearing. There are two types of 
sounds or sound waves transmitted by the air; these are fundamentally 
distinct: sounds coming from the primitive vibrations of solids; the 
sounds coming from primitive vibrations of fluids I with the help of 
phonautographic processes of my invention, I A propose t0 educate 
deaf-mutes by the palpitation of membranes mounted 
at the end of a conduit; 

de compter les evenements sonores accomplis dans un centieme de 

to count sound events carried out in a hundredth of 
a second; 

d'expliquer les phenomenes de l'audition par la transformation des 
vibrations de fluides en vibrations de solides au moyen de la chaine des 
osselets et 7 du liquide labyrinthique. 

to explain the phenomena of hearing by transforming the 
vibrations of fluids into vibrations of solids by means of the chain of 
the ossicles and of the labyrinthic liquid. 

J'ai l'honneur d'etre 
Monsieur le president 
votre tout devoue serviteur 
Leon Scott 
ce22juillet 1857 

I have the honor to be 

Mr. President 

your most devoted servant 

Leon Scott 

this 22 July 1857 

Corrected from "fais" 
7 Written over "de" 


SEIN 8/54-12 

This undated cover letter appears to predate Scott's presentation on "La Fixation Graphique de la Voix" of 28 October 1857 and to have 
accompanied a series of 'four numbered phonauto grams: 1 (8/54-7), 2 (8/54-27), 3 (8/54-36), and 4 (8/54-8). Two teetotum traces are also 
attached physically to the cover letter itself, one at the top left, one at the bottom left. 

Monsieur le President, 

Mr. President, 

Je viens vous prier de vouloir bien soumettre a la Societe un specimen 
des experiences que je poursuis sur la graphic des mouvements rapides, 
des mouvements moleculaires, du son des instruments et des voix. Je 
compte mettre sous peu sous vos yeux le mouvement du pendule a fil et 
le trace de la parole. 

I am going to ask you to be so kind as to submit to the Societe a 
specimen of the experiments which I am pursuing on the writing of 
rapid motions, of molecular motions, of the sound of instruments and of 
voices. I intend soon to place beneath your eyes the motion of the 
string pendulum and the trace of speech. 

Je vous dirai que le bois et d'autres corps ecrivent comme les 
membranes leurs vibrations sous l'influence de la voix. La planche 1 a 
ete ecrite par un tuyau de frene d'un centimetre d'epaisseur. Les 
planches 2, 3, 4 montrent le mouvement d'une membrane sous 
l'influence de la voix et particulierement l'onde d'inflexion ou 

, i longitudinale de la membrane, particularite 1 11 1 

transversale 6 F sur laquelle la science ne 

possede encore aucune lumiere. Enfin la figure ci-jointe est dessinee 
par un style attache a l'axe du to ton et compte les tours en montrant le 
rapport de leur nombre avec les balancements de l'axe. 

I will say to you that wood and other bodies, like membranes, write 
their vibrations under the influence of the voice. Plate 1 was written by 
an ashen pipe one centimeter in thickness. Plates 2, 3, 4 show the 
motion of a membrane under the influence of the voice and particularly 

,i „r • -fi 4-' „ „ 4-1 ,-. „ longitudinal to the m em brane. a 

the wave of inflection or the transverse one E 

aractenstic Qn w jjj c jj sc j ence does not yet possess any light. Finally the 
attached figure is drawn by a stylus attached to the axis of the teetotum 
and counts the turns by showing the ratio of their number to the 
rockings of the axis. 

J'ai l'honneur d'etre, Monsieur le President, 
votre tres humble et devoue serviteur, 
Leon Scott 
rue Taranne, 6. 

I have the honor of being, Mr President, 
your very humble and devoted servant, 
Leon Scott 
Rue Taranne 6 


{8/54-7 = PLATE 1} 

[margin, in ink] planche 1. I octobre 1857 

plate 1. I October 1857 

{8/54-27 = PLATE 2} 

[beginning] jeune jouvencelle 
[end] les echos 

[bottom] 17 aout 1857— L. Scott 
chant a distance 

[margin, in ink] octobre 1857 I Stt 

pi. 2. 

Cette planche prouve que l'appareil est apte a compter les vibrations 

J. Lissajous 

young little girl 

the echoes 

17 August 1857— L.Scott 

song at a distance 

October 1857 IS [co]tt 

pl[ate] 2. 

This plate proves that the apparatus is capable of counting vibrations 

J. Lissajous 

{8/54-36 = plate 3} 

[margin, in pencil] style de soie 
[margin, in ink] pi. 3. 

stylus of bristle 
pl[ate] 3. 

{8/54-8 = PLATE 4} 

[margin, in pencil] style de soie 
[margin, in ink] pi. 4. 

stylus of bristle 
pl[ate] 4. 

Or possibly "des" = "of the" 


Fixation Graphique de la Voix 

This text evidently originated as a talk of 28 October 1857 for the Societe d' Encouragement pour I'lndustrie Nationale, and an untitled 
manuscript ("MS") in the SEIN archives (8/54-6), mostly in Scott's own handwriting, was used as the basis for the main text below. Scott later 
had a hundred copies printed in the form of a three-column broadside under the title "FIXATION GRAPHIQUE DE LA VOIX" ("CL" — Claye, 
1857); he submitted one to the SEIN on 16 November (8/54-29). An abridged version, edited by the abbe Frangois Moigno, appeared in Cosmos 
14 (1859), pp. 314-320. Finally, Scott included a version of this text in his self-published book of 1878, Le probleme de la parole s'ecrivant elle- 
meme ("1878"), alternately following another manuscript in his possession and Moigno' s Cosmos adaptation (textual variants shared with the 
latter are shown in the notes). A numbered series of nine phonauto grams in the Scott dossier at the SEIN — 1 (8/54-28), 2 (8/54-26), 3 (8/54-4), 
4 (8/54-14), 5 (8/54-5), 6 (8/54-11), 7 (8/54-9), 8 (8/54-10), and 9 (8/54-13)— appears to correspond to the "new series of negative prints" Scott 
presented on this occasion, given the presence of specific items mentioned in the talk (e.g., the phonauto gram of the Lord's Prayer). An earlier 
version of this text and translation, published before we learned of the existence of MS, appears in First Sounds Working Paper 3. 

{MS:[lr]; CL; 1878:38}' M. Edouard Leon Scott presente a la Societe Mr. Edouard-Leon Scott presents to the 

d'Encouragement une nouvelle serie d'epreuves negatives indiquant le Societe d'Encouragement a new series of negative prints 

mouvement des membranes minces et de certains solides sous showing the motion of thin membranes and certain solids 

l'influence des instruments de musique et de la voix. A la fin de la under the influence of musical instruments and the voice. At the end of 

seance il {1878:39} a demande" la parole pour donner quelques the session he asked to speak in order to give some 

explications sur ses precedes 3 et s'est exprime 4 en ces termes : explanations of his processes and expressed himself in these terms: 

«Messieurs, je viens vous annoncer une bonne nouvelle : "Gentlemen, I am going to announce to you a piece of good news: 

le son, aussi bien que la lumiere, fournit a distance une trace durable; sound, as well as light, furnishes a durable image at a 

la voix humaine s'ecrit elle-meme (dans la langue propre a l'acoustique, distance; the human voice is written by itself (in the language peculiar 

bien entendu) sur une couche sensible; a la suite de longs efforts je suis to acoustics, of course) on a sensitive stratum; following long efforts I 

parvenu a obtenir iecuei " le trace de presque tous les mouvements de have managed to obtain co ect the trace of almost all the motions of 

1 1878 prefaces this essay with an abridged text of Scott's letter to the SEIN of 16 November 1857, followed by this note: "Void la transcription de cette piece, 
imprimee chez Claye en un placard petit in-folio, tire d'un seul cote. Elle est devenue tellement rare qu'il m'a ete impossible de m'en procurer un seul 
exemplaire. Je me sers pour la copier du manuscrit livre au compositeur avant les corrections. Je ne puis done pas garantir la conformite absolue de ma copie 
avec la placard de 1857, mais les differences doivent etre insignifiantes. M. Moigno l'a reproduite en partie dans le Cosmos en 1859." = "Here is the 
transcription of this document, printed by Claye on a small folio placard, imprinted on only one side. It has become so rare that it has been impossible for me to 
procure myself a single copy thereof. For copying it I used the manuscript delivered to the compositor before corrections. I cannot therefore guarantee the 
absolute conformity of my copy with the placard of 1857, but the differences must be insignificant. M. Moigno reproduced it in part in Cosmos in 1859." 
* CL has "demande" = "asks" 

3 CL inserts comma 

4 CL has "s'exprime" = "expresses himself 

5 CL and 1878 text capitalize "Le" 

6 1878 has comma 

7 CL has "recueillir"; 1878 text has "obtenir" 


l'air qui constituent soit des sons, soit des bruits. Enfin, les memes 
moyens me permettent d'obtenir, dans certaines conditions, une 
representation fidele des mouvements rapides, de mouvements 
inappreciables a nos sens par leur petitesse, de mouvements 

the air which constitute either sounds or noises. 
Indeed, the same means permit me to obtain, in certain 
conditions, a faithful representation of rapid motions, of 
motions inappreciable to our senses by their smallness, of 
molecular motions. 

«I1 s'agit, comme vous voyez, par 8 cet art nouveau, de forcer la nature 
a constituer elle-meme une langue generale ecrite de tous les sons. 

«Lorsque la pensee me vint, il y a plus de quatre ans, de fixer sur une 
couche sensible la trace du mouvement de l'air pendant le chant ou la 
parole, les personnes auxquelles je confiai mon projet ne manquerent 
pas, pour la plupart, de le traiter de reve insense. Le mot, Messieurs, 9 
ne me parut pas tirer a consequence : il est la bienvenue ordinaire des 
plus belles conquetes de 1' intelligence humaine et mes faibles efforts 
avaient cela de commun avec beaucoup de grandes choses qui ont 
commence par etre des utopies a leur berceau. ' ' 

«Je dois convenir toutefois que ce jugement sommaire n'etait pas sans 
quelque apparence de raison. Qu'est-ce que la voix, en effet? Un 
mouvement periodique 12 de l'air qui nous entoure provoque par le 
mouvement de nos organes, mais un mouvement tres complexe et 
infiniment delicat. {MS:2} Cette delicatesse est telle, Messieurs, 15 que 
si vous parlez dans une chambre sombre, eclairee par un seul rayon de 
soleil, les plus fines poussieres en suspension dans le fluide 16 et visibles 
seulement dans l'espace lumineux, n'en seront pas agitees d'une 
maniere sensible. D'un autre cote ce mouvement si subtil est 

"It is a matter, as you see, by this new art, of forcing nature 
herself to constitute a written general language of all sounds. 

"When the thought came to me, more than four years ago, of fixing on a 
sensitive stratum the trace of the motion of the air during song or 
speech, the persons to whom I confided my project did not fail, for the 
most part, to treat it as a foolish dream. The word, gentlemen, 
did not seem to me to be of consequence: it is the ordinary welcome of 
the most sublime conquests of human intelligence and my feeble efforts 
have that in common with many great things that 
started in their cradle by being Utopias. 

"I must admit, however, that this summary judgment was not without 

some semblance of reason. What is the voice, indeed? A 

periodic motion of the air which surrounds us, caused by the 

motion of our organs, but a motion very complex and 

infinitely delicate. This delicacy is such, gentlemen, that 

if you speak in a dark room, lit by a single ray of 

sun, the finest specks of dust in suspension in the fluid and 

visible only in the bright space will not be agitated 

in a perceptible manner. On the other hand, this motion so subtle is 

CL has "dans" = "in" 
' 1878 omits "Messieurs" (like Moigno) 

CL inserts comma 

1 No paragraph break in CL or 1878 text 
' 1878 omits "periodique" 

3 CL and 1878 have "jeu" = "working" 

4 CL has semicolon 

3 1878 omits "Messieurs" (like Moigno) 

6 CL inserts comma 

7 1878 inserts endnote P bis (p. 71): 

"J'ai beaucoup exagere ici le peu de valeur dynamique de la phonation: je suis bientot revenu a des idees plus saines. Je n'avais pas encore consulte les 
experiences de M. Cagniard- Latour sur la question dans le journal YInstitut, n° 228, Janvier 1838: «I1 resulte de ces experiences qu'une personne observee par 
lui exercait des pressions de 7 centimetres de mercure quand elle prononcait son propre nom a haute voix, comme lorsqu'on appelle quelqu'un; de 5 a 6 


extremement rapide. Tandis {1878:40} qu'en ce moment je vous parle extremely rapid. While I am speaking to you at this moment in 

dans le ton ordinaire de ma voix plus de six cents de ces invisibles the ordinary tone of my voice, more than six hundred of these invisible 

mouvements 0SCI atlons de l'air se succedent entre moi et vous" dans la motions ° SCI ltlons of the air are succeeding one another between me and 

duree si petite ' in,£ " alle si co " rt 21 qu i separe deux battements du pouls, you in the duration so small th£ interval so short which separates two beats of 

c'est-a-dire une seconde. the pulse, that is to say one second. 

{MS:[lv]} 22 Ce 23 mouvement particulier qui produit la sensation du son Is this distinctive motion which produces the sensation of 

est-il apte a engendrer, comme un faisceau lumineux, en chacun des sound apt to create, like a bright beam in all 

points de l'espace qui nous entoure, un spectre doue d'une certaine points of the space which surrounds us, a given spectrum of a certain 

continuite," dont un ecran sensible puisse etre chimiquement continuity and by which a sensitive screen could be chemically 

impressionne? Non, Messieurs," 3 le spectre sonore (passez moi cette impressed? No, gentlemen, the sound spectrum (forgive me this 

expression inexacte) n'estpas continu permanei " comme inexact expression) is not continuous P" manent iik e 

centimetres de mercure pendant qu'elle riait moderement; de 18 a 20 centimetres de mercure lorsqu'elle se mouchait avec force; de 23 centimetres quand elle 
toussait fortement et de 24 lorsqu'elle eternuait.» 

"Des experiences faites avec un manometre a eau ont donne au meme physicien une pression representee par une colonne d'eau de 3 centimetres 
pendant l'expiration, et, en sens contraire, de 2 pendant l'inspiration. Pendant le chant dans un ton medium, on en a trouve 16. Lorsque le chant, sans etre plus 
intense, est devenu plus aigu, le manometre est monte a 20 pour descendre a 6 quand le sujet sifflait avec la bouche un ut de 1024 vibrations simples par seconde. 
La personne ayant compte depuis un jusqu'a vingt pendant une seule expiration de 5 secondes, la pression a ete comprise entre 12 et 13 centimetres d'eau. 

"Sur un autre sujet, Cagniard-Latour a observe qu'en moyenne la phonation exigeait une pression d'air representee par une colonne d'eau de 16 

"Ces curieuses experiences sont a reprendre avec soin, en etudiant les uns apres les autres les sons propres aux differentes articulations. On pourra juger 
ainsi de la force d'inscription dont on peut disposer dans l'execution de l'appareil." = 

"I greatly exaggerated here the little dynamic value of phonation: I soon returned to sounder ideas. I had not yet consulted the experiments of M. 
Cagniard-Latour on the question in the journal of the Institute, No. 228, January 1838: 'It results from these experiments that a person observed by him exerted 
pressures of 7 centimeters of mercury when she pronounced her proper name aloud, as when one calls someone; of 5 to 6 centimeters of mercury while she 
laughed moderately; of 18 to 23 centimeters of mercury when she blew her nose with force; and of 24 when she sneezed.' 

"Some experiments made with a water manometer gave to the same physicist a pressure represented by a column of water of 3 centimeters during 
exhalation and, in the opposite direction, of 2 during inhalation. During song at a medium tone, one found 16 thereof. When the song, without being more 
intense, became higher, the manometer rose to 20 to descend to 6 when the subject whistled with the mouth a do of 1024 simple vibrations per second. The 
person having counted from one to twenty in a single exhalation of five seconds, the pressure was contained between 12 and 13 centimeters of pressure. 

"On another subject, Cagniard-Latour observed that on average phonation required a pressure of air represented by a column of water of 16 centimeters. 

"These curious experiments are to be resumed carefully by studying one after the other the sounds characteristic of the different articulations. One will 
thus be able to judge the force of inscription one can have at one's disposal in the operation of the apparatus." 

18 1878 substitutes "qu'on parle dans le ton ordinaire de la voix" = "while one is speaking in the ordinary tone of voice" (like Moigno) 

19 CL and 1878 have "invisibles mouvements" 

20 1878 omits "entre moi et vous" (like Moigno) 

21 CL and 1878 have "Pintervalle si court" 

" MS:[lv] is a pasted-in sheet, with mark on 2 showing where it is to be inserted; not in Scott's handwriting 

23 CL and 1878 insert quotation mark 

24 CL and 1878 substitute "persistence" 
23 1878 does not capitalize "messieurs" 

26 CL and 1878 have "permanent"; the insertion appears to be in Scott's handwriting 


le spectre lumineux. Ce trouble momentane, ou mieux 27 cette 

oscillation suivant certaines lois" des molecules du milieu 

aerien, une fois l'ebranlement communique au fluide par le jeu de nos 

organes, s'y propage de proche en proche avec une vitesse de 

333 metres par seconde; la vibration moleculaire passe done a* une 

station quelconque, en un instant d'une brievete innapreciable a nos 

sens et quand elle a franchi ce point, tout est deja rentre au repos dans 

l'espace precede mment parcouru. Une action chimique 

nous 30 


irrealisable, par suite de cette mutation incessante du phenomene en 
chaque point. 31 

{MS:2, cont.} «Je demande pardon aux hommes eminents que 
j'aper9ois dans cette enceinte de ces details tres connus, " mais je 
m'adresse meme aux personnes etrangeres a la science du son 33 et 
j' arrive a des choses dignes peut-etre de quelque interet. 

«Comment parvenir, je vous le demande, a recueillir une trace nette, 
precise, complete, d'un pareil mouvement, incapable, disons-nous, 33 de 
faire fremir un cil A meme de notre paupiere? Ah! si je pouvais poser sur 
cet air qui m'environne et qui recele tous les elements d'un son, une 

the light spectrum. This momentary disturbance, or better this 
oscillation following certain laws of the molecules of the aerial 
medium, once the agitation is communicated to the fluid by the working 
of our organs, propagates itself therein from place to place at a speed of 
333 meters per second. The molecular vibration thus passes to any 
station in an instant of brevity inappreciable to our senses, and when 
it has got past this point, everything has already returned to rest in 
the space previously traversed. A chemical action seems unfeasible 
to us in consequence of this incessant change of the phenomenon at 
every point. 

"I beg the pardon of the eminent men whom 

I see in this hall for these well known details, but I 

address myself as well to persons ignorant of the science of sound and 

I am getting to things worthy perhaps of some interest. 

"How to succeed, I ask you, in collecting a clear, 
precise, complete trace of such a motion, incapable, let us say, of 
making tremble A eve " a lash of our eyelid? Ah! if I could place in this 
air which surrounds me and which harbors all the elements of a sound, a 

CL inserts comma 

28 CL and 1878 insert comma 

29 Written over "en" = "in" 

30 The word "nous" is inserted in the margin in Scott's handwriting 

31 Underneath the pasted-in sheet is another text in Scott's own handwriting: "[Ce] mouvement particulier qui produit la sensation [du son] forme-t-il, comme le 
rayon lumineux en chacun des points de l'espace qui nous entoure un spectre continu, durable dont un ecran sensible puisse etre chimiquement impressionne? 
Non, Messieurs, dans ce cas le ' n y * plus de spectre, n'est pas tme de disposition lntlme [in margin] plus ou moins permanente d'un certain milieu, xx* ' y a un trouble 
momentane, ou mieux une oscillation conforme a certaines lois, des molecules qui composent le milieu aerien. Une fois l'ebranlement communique a l'air par le 
jeu de nos organes le mouvement se propage de proche en proche dans le fluide avec une vitesse de 1000 pieds par seconde. Le trouble moleculaire ne passe 
done en une station quelconque qu'en un temps d'une brievete inappreciable a nos sens et quand il a franchi ce point tout est deja rentre dans le repos dans xxx 
les lieux precedemment parcourus. Toute action chimique parait done irrealisable dans ces conditions." = "Does [this] distinctive motion which produces the 
sensation [of sound] create, like a bright beam in all points of the space which surrounds us, a continuous, durable spectrum by which a sensitive screen could be 

chemically impressed? No, gentlemen, in this case the 

there is no longer any 

spectrum, nor is there a ' intimate disposition more or less permanent in a certain 

medium, xxx r a momentary disturbance, or better an oscillation following certain laws, of the molecules of the aerial medium. Once the agitation is 
communicated to the air by the working of our organs the movement propagates itself from place to place in the fluid at a speed of 1000 feet per second. The 
molecular disturbance thus only passes into any station in an instant of brevity inappreciable to our senses and when it has got past this point everything has 
already returned to rest in xxx the space previously traversed. Any chemical action seems unfeasible in these conditions." 

32 CL has semicolon 

33 CL inserts comma 

34 1878 omits "je vous le demande" (like Moigno) 

35 1878 omits "disons-nous" (like Moigno) 


plume, un style, cette plume, ce style formerait une trace sur une A couche 

fluide appropriee Oh! 36 donnez-moi un point d'appui ! Mais 37 

fixer une plume a ce fluide fugitif, impalpable, invisible, c'est une 
chimere, c'est impossible! 

«Attendez. Ce probleme insoluble, il est 38 resolu quelque part. II 
{1878:41} existe, Messieurs, 39 un inventeur, un artiste sublime pour 
lequel rien n'est absurde ni 40 impossible : c'est Dieu. Consultons-le. 41 
Considerons attentivement cette merveille entre tout les merveilles, 
l'oreille humaine. Je dis que notre probleme, la point d'appui , 42 est 
resolu dans le phenomene de 1' audition, et que les artifices employes 
dans la struct ° re de 43 l'oreille doivent nous conduire au but. Je ne pretends 
pas faire en ce moment, Messieurs, une incursion dans le domaine des 
physiologistes; mais je prends mon bien ou je le trouve. 43 Je n'ai 
d'ailleurs besoin d'aucune theorie nouvelle sur l'appareil de l'ouie et 
son fonctionnement. 

«Ce fif' "" 46 trouve, les choses vont devenir d'une simplicite 
rare. Que voyons-nous tout d'abord {MS:3} dans l'oreille? Un 
conduit. Mais qu'est-ce qu'un conduit? Une experience memorable 
due a illustre doyen de l'Academie des sciences, va nous en fournir une 
explication complete applicable a notre objet. Au commencement 
de ce siecle, pendant une nuit, M. Biot, place a l'une 

pen, a stylus, this pen, this stylus would form a trace upon a suitable 

fluid A strit " m .... Oh! give me a point of support ! 

But to fix a pen in this fugitive, impalpable, invisible fluid, this is 
a dream, this is impossible! 

"Wait. This insoluble problem, it is solved somewhere. There 

exists, gentlemen, an inventor, a sublime artist for whom nothing 

is absurd or impossible: this is God. Let us consult him. 

Let us attentively consider that marvel among all marvels, the human 

ear. I say that our problem, the point of support , is 

solved in the phenomenon of audition, and that the contrivances 

employed in the struct ° re of the ear must lead us to the goal. I do not intend 

at present, gentlemen, to make an incursion into the domain of the 

physiologists; but I take my fortune where I find it. Besides, I have no 

need of any new theory about the apparatus of the ear and 

its functioning. 

"This thread lllswer being found, things are going to become of a rare 
simplicity. What do we see first of all in the ear? A 
conduit. But what is a conduit? A memorable experiment, due to the 
famous dean of the Academie des Sciences, will provide us a 
complete explanation thereof, applicable to our object. At the 
beginning of this century, during one night, Mr. Biot, seated at one 

"But where to find a point of support?... To fix. 

"O" written over "A" 

CL and 1878 have "Mais oil trouver un point d'appui?... Fixer.. 

1878 has "insoluble est" (like Moigno) 

1878 omits "Messieurs" (like Moigno) 

1878 omits "absurde ni" (like Moigno) 

"C" written over another letter, possibly "A" 

CL and 1878 omit "la point d'appui" 

The words "structure de" are inserted in the margin. 

1878 omits "Messieurs" (like Moigno) 

CL and 1878 have "mais je vais chercher mon bien ou il se trouve" = "I shall seek my fortune where it finds itself 

CL and 1878 substitute "point" = "point" 

"exp" written over "app" 

CL inserts comma 

1878 omits this sentence (like Moigno) 

1878 has "une nuit calme" = "a calm night" (like Moigno) 


des extremites d'un conduit d'aqueduc en fonte 51 d'une longueur de 951 
metres, etablissait une conversation a voix tres basse, chuchotee meme, 
avec un second interlocuteur place a 1' autre extremite de ce tube 
immense. Done, dans un conduit d'une longueur quelconque, 
convenablement isole de tout mouvement exterieur, de toute agitation 
des couches de l'air, le plus faible susurrus ' de la voix est transmis 
integralement a tout distance. Le conduit amene sans alteration, 
sans deperdition, l'onde sonore, si complexe qu'elle soit, d'une des 
extremites a l'autre en la preservant de toutes les causes d'accident 
qui pourraient la troubler 34 et si ce conduit est par lui-meme incapable 
de vibrer, si aucune transmission du mouvement vibratoire ne 
s'accomplit dans la route, le fluide poursuivra inde liniment son 
ebranlement 3 5 primitif avec la purete, la nettete, l'intensite originelles. 
Tel est, Messieurs, 57 en acoustique le role des conduits en presence d'un 
fluide en mouvement. Remarquez-le bien : j'en prends acte pour 
ecrire ulterieurement le son a toute distance. En attendant je 
m'empare du conduit 60 et je le faconne en une sorte d'entonnoir pour 
colliger les sons vers sa petite extremite. 

of the ends of a cast-iron aqueduct conduit 951 meters in 

length, held a conversation in a very low voice, whispered, 

even, with a second interlocutor seated at the other end of this immense 

tube. Hence, in a conduit of any length, suitably 

isolated from all external motion, from all agitation 

of the strata of the air, the weakest whisper of the voice is transmitted 

in full to any distance. The conduit brings forth without alteration, 

without loss, the sound wave, as complex as it may be, from one of the 

ends to the other by preserving it from all the causes of accident 

that might be able to disturb it and if the conduit is by itself incapable of 

vibrating, if no transmission of vibratory motion is accomplished 

along the way, the fluid will indefinitely pursue its 

primitive agitation with the original purity, clearness, 

intensity. Such is, gentlemen, in acoustics, the role of conduits in 

the presence of a fluid in motion. Mind it well: I take note 

thereof later on to write sound at any distance. Meanwhile, 

I seize hold of the conduit and fashion it into a sort of funnel for 

concentrating sound towards its small end. 

{1878:42} «Poursuivons l'examen de l'oreille. A la suite du conduit 
auditif externe, je rencontre une membrane mince, tendue et inclinee. 
Qu'est-ce, Messieurs, qu'une membrane mince et demi-tendue dans 
cette architecture physique qui nous occupe? " C'est, suivant la juste 
definition de Mtiller, quelque chose de mixte, moitie solide, moitie 
fluide; elle participe de l'un par la coherence, de l'autre par 1' extreme 
facilite de deplacement de toutes ses molecules. Elle est l'intermediaire 
employe par la nature pour une 63 transmission aussi parfaite que 

"Let us continue the examination of the ear. Behind the external 
auditory conduit, I find a thin membrane, stretched and tilted. 
What, gentlemen, is a thin and semi-stretched membrane in this 
physical architecture which occupies us? This is, according to 
Muller's apt definition, something mixed, half solid, half fluid; it 
partakes of the one by cohesion, of the other by the extreme facility of 
displacement of all its molecules. It is the intermediary 
employed by nature for the transmission as perfect as 

1878 has "d'un serie de tuyaux en fonte," = "of a series of cast iron pipes" (like Moigno) 
32 CL and 1878 have "murmure" = "murmur" 
53 CL and 1878 have "causes accidentelles" = "accidental causes" 
34 CL and 1878 insert semicolon 
55 CL and 1878 have "mouvement" = "motion" 
36 "i" written over "a" 
57 1878 omits "Messieurs" (like Moigno) 
' ! 1878 has only "en mouvement : j'en prends" = "motion: I take...." (like Moigno) 

59 CL inserts comma 

60 1878 has "Le conduit une fois trouve, je m'en empare" = "Once the conduit is found, I seize hold thereof (like Moigno) 

61 CL moves "Messieurs" to come after "demi-tendue"; 1878 text omits it (like Moigno) 

62 1878 omits "dans cette architecture physique qui nous occupe" (like Moigno) 

63 1878 has "la" (like Moigno) 


possible du mouvement d'un fluide 64 a un solide. 65 Dans la 
construction de notre oreille 66 le divin artiste 67 en 68 a employe trois 
A*'° " n ". Tout a l'heure, nous l'avons vu, le son de la voix 
n'ebranlaitpas sensiblement les {MS:4} poussieres suspendues au 
voisinage dans l'espace, voici qu'a une distance de plus de dix 
metres, pendant la nuit, dans une salle bien silencieuse, la voix fait 

sauter energiquement le sable depose 
tendue sur un verre. 

4 a la surface 72 

sur- une membrane 

«Nous tenons, maintenant, Messieurs, dans tout son eclat le fil 
lumineux qui doit nous conduire : ce point d'appui de notre plume sur 
le fluide en mouvement que je vous demandais tout a l'heure, il est 
trouve, le voici : c'est la membrane mince que nous placons a 
l'extremite de notre conduit auditif artificiel. 

7 7 7 8 7 

«Je vous ai dit, il y a un instant, qu'il etait necessaire pour la 
solution integrate du probleme, que le style applique sur le fluide 
en vibration, ou, ce 80 qui revient au meme, sur le semi-solide, la 
membrane, marquat sa trace sur un fluide. En effet, tout mode 
d'inscription du mouvement " qui reclamerait une force de 
gravure appreciable serait impossible a notre burin quasi aerien; 83 la 
couche sensible devrait done etre fluide 84 afin de ne pas offrir de 

possible of a fluid to a solid. In the 

construction of our ear, the divine artist xx has employed three 

A°'° " nes . A short while ago, we have seen, the sound of the voice 

did not perceptibly agitate the specks of dust suspended 

nearby in space; behold, at a distance of more than ten 

meters, during the night, in a really quiet hall, the voice causes 

to leap energetically the sand deposited on the surface en of a membrane 

stretched over a glass. 

"We now hold, gentlemen, in all its brilliance, the bright 
thread which must lead us: this point of support for our pen upon 
the fluid in motion which I asked of you a short while ago, it is 
found, behold it: it is the thin membrane which we place at 
the end of our artificial auditory conduit. 

"I said to you a moment ago that it was necessary, for the 
complete solution of the problem, that the stylus applied upon the fluid 
in vibration, or what amounts to the same thing, upon the 
membrane, should mark its trace upon a second fluid. Indeed, any 
method of inscription that would require an appreciable force of 
engraving would be impossible for our quasi aerial graver; the sensitive 
stratum would need therefore to be fluid, in order not to offer 

"fluide" written over "solide" 

"solide" written over "fluide" 

CL and 1878 insert comma 

1878 has "l'artiste divin" (Moigno has "1' Artiste divin") 

Omitted in CL and 1878. Does not appear to be an interrupted "em — " (i.e., "employe") 

1878 omits comma 

CL and 1878 have semicolon 

1878 has "10" (like Moigno) 

"a la surface" inserted in margin 

CL and 1878 have "surface d'une" 

1878 omits "Messieurs" (like Moigno) 

CL and 1878 insert comma 

CL begins new sentence 

"i" has a downstroke as though it started as a "q," "p," etc. 

1878 has only "J'ai dit qu'il etait necessaire" = "I said that it was necessary" (like Moigno) 

CL and 1878 insert comma 

CL has "vibration ou, ce"; 1878 has "vibration, ou ce" 

1878 has "un second fluide" (like Moigno) 

1878 omits "du mouvement" (like Moigno) 


resistance a nos dedicates empreintes. Eh bien, de me me que nous 
avons pris un semi-solide pour agent, gmp ique ' nous prendrons un semi- 
fluide pour matrice, ce sera le noir de fumee obtenu par volatilisation. 
Une mince couche de noir de fumee 86 deposee a l'etat semi-fluide sur 
un corps quelconque (metal, bois, papier, tissu) 87 anime d'un 
mouvement de progression uniforme, afin que les traces formees ne 
rentrent pas les {1878:43} unes dans les autres, telle sera notre plaque 
daguerrienne, A notre ne s atlf > 88 propre a fournir par les moyens connus des 
milliers d'epreuves. 

«Vous le voyez, Messieurs, l'invention de la graphie du son et de sa 
fixation est, pour ainsi dire, consommee : il ne reste plus qu'a 
perfectionner et etendre A le p 10 " 11 ^ q U '^ l'appliquer aux sciences et aux 
arts. Je n'insisterai pas" sur des experiences directes qui prouvent que 
tous les elements de la voix impressionnent la membrane; " qu'avec les 

resistance to our delicate impressions. Well, just as we 

took a semi-solid for a graphic agent, we will take a 

semi-fluid for a matrix: this will be lampblack obtained by 

volatilization. A thin stratum of lampblack deposited in a semi-fluid 

state on any body (metal, wood, paper, fabric), animated 

by a motion of uniform progression, in order that the traces formed 

should not run one into the other, such will be our 

Daguerreian plate, A "' n£ s atlve suited to furnishing by known 

methods thousands of prints. 

"You see, gentlemen, the invention of the writing of sound and of its 
fixing is, so to speak, consummated: nothing more remains than to 
perfect and extend the process, to apply it to the sciences and to the 
arts. I will not insist on the direct experiments which would prove that 
all the elements of the voice pass by the membrane; that with the 

CL and 1878 insert a period and start a new sentence. 1878 also inserts endnote R (p. 71): "Le resultat obtenu en 1878 par M. Edison semble, au premier 
abord, donner un dementi a mes idees, un peu exagerees d'ailleurs et trop theoriques, de 1857, sur la minceur du tympan, sur le style flexible et sur la couche 
semi-fluide. Mais il importe de remarquer que le celebre americain parle le nez presque colle sur son tympan et que s'il se reculait de 50 a 80 centimetres 
seulement, sans l'addition d'un conduit acoustique, il n'obtiendrait aucune gravure appreciable." = "The result obtained in 1878 by Mr. Edison seems at first 
sight to contradict my ideas, a little exagerrated besides and very theoretical, in 1857, on the thinness of the tympanum, on the flexible stylus, and on the semi- 
fluid stratum. But it is important to observe that the celebrated American speaks nose nearly glued onto his tympanum, and that if he were to move back only 50 
to 80 centimeters, without the addition of an acoustic conduit he would not obtain any appreciable engraving." 

84 CL and 1878 insert comma 

85 "graphique" in margin; CL has "pour agent graphique, nous"; 1878 has "pour burin, nous" = "for a graver, we..." (like Moigno) 

86 CL and 1878 omit "de noir to fumee" 

87 1878 inserts comma 

88 CL and 1878 have "notre plaque daguerrienne, ou plutot notre negatif, propre..." = "our Daguerreian plate, or rather our negative, suited..." 

89 1878 omits "Messieurs" (like Moigno) 

90 CL and 1878 do not set off "pour ainsi dire" with commas 

91 CL and 1878 substitute "point" 

n 1878 inserts endnote R bis (pp. 71-2): "II y a identite, ou a peu pres, pour la conductibilite du son, {72} entre les membranes, les plaques et les cloisons. J'ai 
fait en 1857 l'experience suivante que je retrouve dans une lettre inedite adressee a M. Pouillet. II s'agissait de savoir dans quelles conditions l'ebranlement 
complexe de l'air qui constitue la parole peut passer integralement a travers des milieux solides. 

"«Une cloison de bois et de platre qui separe deux chambres contigues a ete pour moi comme une sorte de membrane grossiere ou plutot de cloison 
membraneuse. Tous les elements dynamiques du son qui traversent cette cloison devront a. fortiori impressionner les membranes physiologiques. Quand mon 
oreille est placee a un metre de distance de la cloison, une conversation a voix ordinaire d'une personne etablie au milieu de la chambre voisine ne me parvient 
que sous la forme de son retentissement dans la masse d'air de la chambre. 

"«A un centimetre de la separation, mon oreille commence a discerner les tons, ainsi que les articulation les plus tranchees, mais le timbre est fortement 

"«En appliquant l'oreille sur la cloison meme, dans les meilleures conditions d'isolement du milieu exterieur, je distingue d'une maniere complete les 
quatre elements de la voix. 


dispositions requises son mouvement est adequat a celui du fluide required arrangements its motion is suitable for that of the sounding 

sonore; je ne dirai rien non plus de la forme et des dimensions de mon fluid; neither will I say anything of the form and dimensions of my 

conduit auditif artificiel, de la preparation de la membrane mince, de la artificial auditory conduit, of the preparation of the thin membrane, of 

substance du style et de son mode d'appli-{MS:5}cation; du role de cet the substance of the stylus and of its method of application, of the role 

osselet de l'ouie appele le marteau : ce sont la des questions sans of that ossicle of the ear called the hammer: these are 

aucun doute A tr " im portantes dans 1' execution, 95 dans la pratique de cet art without any doubt A ,ery im portant questions in the practice of this 

difficile. 96 Je les reserve pour le memoire complet dont je prepare en ce difficult art. I reserve them for the complete account of which I am 

moment la redaction. L' etude de ces differents organes de l'appareil currently preparing the redaction. The study of these different organs of 

phonautographique m'a coute des tatonnements infinis. Je ne saurais, a the phonautographic apparatus cost me infinite gropings. I do not 

vrai dire, les regretter : en comparant pas a pas les know, to tell the truth, that I regret them: in comparing step by step the 

"«J'en conclus qu'une membrane ou plutot qu'une cloison mince peut s'impressionner de tous les elements de la voix aux conditions suivantes: 
proximite suffisante; tranquillite parfait de l'air; et pour certains d'entre eux (bruits de frolement, etc.), de lui etre amenes par une transmission dite de solides. 

"«La necessite d'un intermediaire solide pour la transmission complete apparait tres-nettement dans les essais de palpation tactile du son. Un sourd- 
muet de mes amis palpe une membrane nue mise en vibration par ma voix, il n'eprouve qu'une perception obtuse du phenomene sonore. Si je lui fais toucher sur 
la meme membrane une tigelle de sureau appliquee a son centre, cet intermediaire solide lui procure une connaissance bien plus nette, bien plus precise, du 
mouvement vibratoire et de ses details.* 

"II sera facile, dans le phonautographe perfectionne que je prepare, de faire suivre au sourd-muet qui sait lire l'execution d'une dictee imprimee sur un 
tableau place derriere l'operateur, a la fois sur les levres de ce dernier par la vue et sur le tympan qui vibre, au moyen de la palpation tactile." = 

"There is an identity, or nearly so, for the conductability of sound, between membranes, plates, and partitions. I made in 1857 the following experiment 
which I find in an unpublished letter addressed to M. Pouillet. It was a question of knowing under what conditions the complex agitation of the air which 
constitues speech can pass in full through solid media. 

'"A partition of wood and of plaster which separates two contiguous rooms has been for me like a sort of crude membrane or, rather, membranous 
partition. All the dynamic elements of sound which traverse this partition must impress physiological membranes all the more. When my ear is placed a meter in 
distance from the partition, a conversation in a person's ordinary voice held in the environment of the neighboring room reaches me only in the form of its 
resonance in the mass of the room's air. 

'"At a centimeter of separation, my ear begins to discern the tones, as well as the most distinct articulations, but the timbre is strongly altered. 

'"In applying the ear to the same partition, in better conditions of isolation from the exterior environment, I distinguish in a complete way the four 
elements of the voice. 

'"I conclude therefrom that a membrane or rather a thin partition can be impressed by all the elements of the voice under the following conditions: 
sufficient proximity; perfect tranquillity of the air; and for certain ones among them (hissing noises, etc.), being brought forth from it by a said transmission of 

'"The necessity of a solid intermediary for complete transmission appears very clearly in tests of tactile feeling of sound. A deaf-mute among my 
friends feels a bare membrane set into vibration by my voice, he experiences only a blunt perception of the sounding phenomenon. If I have him touch upon the 
membrane an elder stem applied at its center, this solid intermediary gives him a very much clearer, very much more precise knowledge of the vibratory motion 
and of its details.' 

"It will be easy, in the perfected phonautograph which I am preparing, to have the deaf-mute who knows how to read follow the performance of a 
dictation printed on a table placed behind the operator, at once on the lips of this last by sight and on the tympanum which vibrates by means of tactile feeling." 

93 CL and 1878 begin new sentence 

94 CL and 1878 begin new sentence 

95 CL has "dans la solution" = "in the solution"; 1878 omits this phrase (like Moigno) 

96 CL has "cet art difficile; mais il serait trop long de les developper ici, etje les reserve...." = "this difficult art; but it would take too long to develop them here, 
and I am saving them...." 1878 has "cet art difficile." — and then omits the remainer of this paragraph (like Moigno) 


donnees d'un tel instrument aux moyens mis en oeuvre dans l'oreille 
humaine, on est amene a des decouvertes aussi curieuses 
qu'inattendues. C'est qu'a mon sens, Messieurs, l'appareil de 
1'audition est le meilleur et le plus complet des traites d'acoustique. 

ideas of such an instrument to the means implemented in the human 
ear, one is brought to discoveries as curious as 

unexpected. This is because to my mind, gentlemen, the apparatus of 
audition is the best and most complete of the treatises of acoustics. 

«Je veux citer a la hate quelques faits a l'appui de ce que j'avance. 

«Toute masse d'air comprise dans un espace limite a, comme on sait, un 
ton propre dans lequel elle resonne plus facilement, plus fortement 
que dans tout autre. Dans un tuyau, c'est ce ton qu'on appelle le ton 
fondamental. Admettez que ce ton s'ecrive d'une maniere distincte de 
tous les autres tons, ce qui a lieu en effet; voila un unisson fixe trouve, 
un point de depart sans intervention de l'oreille 99 pour l'accord des 
instruments et les voix. 100 C'est deja une conquete s'il est bien 
etabli, comme on me l'assure, qu'une oreille delicate ne saurait 
determiner avec certitude a quelle octave appartient un son donne 
extremement grave ou extremement aigu. Dans notre oreille, 
Messieurs, 102 ce ton fondamental, peu sensible d'ailleurs, grace aux 
courbures du conduit qui rompent A en partie l'unite de la masse d'air, est 
au-dessus du registre ordinaire des instruments et des voix; dans notre 
appareil phon-{1878:44}autographique, a grandes dimensions, il devra 
etre au-dessous de ce registre. 

«La membrane du tympan a, comme je vous le disais, par rapport a 
l'axe du conduit auditif 103 la plus forte inclinaison compatible avec sa 
bonne tension. Cette position, Messieurs, joue 104 un role capital dans le 
phenomene de 1'audition. Ainsi que Muller l'avait soupconne 105 
{MS:6} les membranes perpendiculaires au tuyau ne s'impressionnent 
que rarement et faiblement de l'onde dite d'inflexion. 106 Cette onde, 

"I want to cite in haste some facts in support of what I am advancing. 

"Any mass of air compressed in a limited space has, as one knows, a 
characteristic tone at which it resonates more easily, more strongly than 
at any other. In a pipe, this is that tone which one calls the fundamental 
tone. Suppose that this tone writes itself in a manner distinct from all 
other tones, which does indeed take place; here is found a fixed unison, 
a point of departure, without the intervention of the ear, for the accord 
between instruments and voices. This is already a conquest, if it is well 
established, as I have been assured, that a delicate ear could not 
determine with certainty to which octave a given sound 
extremely low or extremely high belongs. In our ear, 
gentlemen, the fundamental tone, besides being not very appreciable, 
thanks to the curves of the conduit which break in part the unity of the 
mass of air, is above the ordinary register of instruments and voices; in 
our phonautographic apparatus of large dimensions, it must 
be below this register. 

"The membrane of the tympanum has, as I told you, in relation to 

the axis of the auditory conduit the greatest inclination compatible with 

its good tension. This position, gentlemen, plays a capital role in the 

phenomenon of audition. As Muller suspected, 

membranes perpendicular to the pipe are impressed 

only rarely and weakly by the wave called that of inflection. This wave, 


Final "t" written over something else, perhaps "ts" 
s Originally "plus fortement, plus facilement"; line drawn to reverse order of words "facilement" and "fortement" 
9 CL and 1878 insert comma 

00 1878 inserts paragraph break (like Moigno) 

01 1878 omits "donne" 

02 CL and 1878 omit "Messieurs" 

03 CL inserts comma 

04 1878 does not capitalize "messieurs"; CL has "Cette position joue, selon moi, un" = "This position plays, in my opinion, a....'' 

05 CL and 1878 insert comma 

06 1878 italicizes "inflexion" 


Messieurs, occupe la place de beaucoup la plus importante dans la 
transmission de la voix par une membrane. J'ai l'honneur d'en mettre 
une bonne figure sous vos yeux dans cette epreuve qui montre le 
trace de l'oraison dominicale recitee d'une voix accentuee, 110 a 
cinquante centimetres de la membrane. Cette autre epreuve represente 
l'onde d'inflexion pendant une gamme cadencee de la voix. Je dois 
dire, Messieurs, que Miiller, 1 ' ' cet" 2 experimentateur d'une admirable 
sagacite, professe depuis longtemps l'existence de cette sorte d'onde 
dans son Manuel de Physiologie . Vous remarquerez dans mes 
epreuves que l'existence de 3 ce second mouvement, de cette crete 
longitudinale qui parcourt la membrane d'une de ses extremites a 
l'autre, n'altere en rien l'onde de condensation, la vibration proprement 
dite; elles coexistent et cette derniere ne cesse pas de marquer la 
tonalite, le timbre et, dans les cas ordinaires, l'intensite. 120 Ce que je 
revendiquerai done pour ma part dans cette question, e'est d'avoir 
manifeste 1' intervention de cette onde d'inflexion dans les mouvements 
de l'organe vocal, autres que la vibration, dans les mouvements de 
totalite, 121 par exemple. 

gentlemen, occupies by far the most important place in the 

transmission of the voice by a membrane. I have the honor of placing 

beneath your eyes a figure thereof in this print which shows the trace of 

the Lord' s Prayer recited in an accentuated voice 

fifty centimeters from the membrane. This other print represents the 

wave of inflection during a cadenced scale of the voice. I must say , 

gentlemen, that Miiller, that experimenter of admirable 

sagacity, has long professed the existence of this sort of wave 

in his Manual of Physiology. You will notice in my 

prints that the existence of this second motion, of that longitudinal 

ridge which runs through the membrane from one of its ends to 

the other, does not distort in any way the wave of condensation, the 

vibration properly so called; they coexist and this last does not cease to 

mark the tonality, the timbre and, in ordinary cases, the intensity. What 

I will therefore assert for my part in this question is to have 

shown the intervention of this wave of inflection in the motions 

of the vocal body other than the vibration, in the motions of 

totality, for example. 

«J'ai *" dit que lorsqu'il s'agira de recueillir ' le son a une certaine 
distance, le conduit devra etre impropre a vibrer. S'il etait 
sonore, 124 les vibrations de la membrane deviendraient faibles, 125 car 

"I have said that when it is a matter of collecting sound at a certain 
distance, the conduit will need to be unsuited to vibrating. If it were 
sounding, the vibrations of the membrane would become weak, because 

1878 omits "Messieurs" 
8 CL has "la plus importante de beaucoup" 
' CL inserts comma 
G CL and 1878 omit comma 
1 Line reverses positions of "Messieurs" and "Miiller." 

CL omits "cet" 

1878 does not capitalize "physiologie" 

4 Written over "ces" 

5 CL omits "l'existence de" 

6 CL omits "de" 

7 CL has "bords" = "edges" 

8 1878 has colon 

9 CL inserts comma 

1878 omits remainder of paragraph and inserts endnote S (pp. 72): "J'ecrivais, avec ce premier appareil, en me servant de membranes minces et faiblement 
tendues, ce qui explique l'apparence singuliere que revet quelquefois cette onde d'inflexion." = "I wrote, with this first apparatus, in availing myself of 
membranes thin and weakly stretched, that which explains the singular appearance which this wave of inflection sometimes takes on." 
1 2 ' CL omits comma 

122 Written over "Nous" 

123 The second part of this word appears to be a correction of something else 


a chaque transmission de fluide a solide elles perdent considerablement 
de leur amplitude, comme l'a demontre Savart. " Cette circonstance de 
la mise en vibration du conduit par la voix, defavorable a la graphie de 
la parole et du chant, 127 nous fournit un 128 moyen d'ecrire le 
mouvement moleculaire des bois, des metaux, des alliages " sous 
l'influence de sons fixes et determines. Nous pourrons acquerir ainsi la 
connaissance du mode de sonorite des corps dans ses rapports avec leur 
texture intime. {MS:7} Voici une planche qui 130 fournit une notion de 
{1878:45} visu sur le mouvement moleculaire d'un tuyau de frene 
sous l'influence de sons de la voix. Le style qui ecrit a ete place 
directement sur le bois " " ya " ~ au lieu de l'etre sur la membrane. 
Chacun des materiaux divers, des agents employes dans les arts 
offrira de cette maniere une graphie propre dont le caractere sera 
subordonne a la disposition de ses fibres, a son plus ou moins 
d'homogeneite, 134 a sa densite. II y aura la, je l'espere, de belles 
decouvertes a faire et des nxx- applications utiles a plusieurs industries. 
Mais l'heure me presse, 135 et je n'insiste pas davantage sur ce cote 
interessant de mes recherches. 

at every transmission from fluid to solid they lose considerably in their 

amplitude, as Savart demonstrated. This circumstance of 

the setting into vibration of the conduit by the voice, unfavorable to the 

writing of speech and song, furnishes us a means of writing the 

molecular motion of woods, metals, alloys, under 

the influence of fixed and determined sounds. We could thus acquire 

knowledge of the method of sounding of bodies with respect to their 

inmost texture. Here is a plate which furnishes an idea by 

sight of the molecular motion of an ashen pipe 

under the influence of sounds of the voice. The stylus which writes was 

placed directly upon the wood of the ppe instead of being upon the 

membrane. All the divers materials, the agents employed in the arts, 

will offer in this manner a characteristic writing of which the character 

will depend on the arrangement of its fibers, on its greater or lesser 

homogeneity, on its density. There will be, I hope, grand discoveries to 

be made and xxx- applications useful to several industries. But the hour 

presses me and I do not insist further upon this interesting side of my 


«Je ne saurais, Messieurs, traiter ici incidemment et a la hate la 
question du timbre. C'est 137 un champ trop neuf et 138 trop fecond, pour 
qu'on ne soit pas tente d'en faire l'objet d'un travail complet et 
approfondi. J'ai reuni un certain nombre d'epreuves 

"I would not know, gentlemen, how here to treat incidentally and in 
haste the question of timbre. This is a field too new and too fertile for 
one not to be tempted to make thereof the subject of a complete and 
thorough work. I have gathered together a certain number of prints 


1878 omits comma 

CL and 1878 have semicolon 

CL and 1878 omit "comme l'a demontre Savart" 

1878 omits "defavorable a la graphie de la parole et du chant" 

1878 has "le" 

CL and 1878 insert comma 

1878 has "Une de mes planches" = "One of my plates" (like Moigno) 

CL and 1878 omit "moleculaire" 

"du tuyau" in margin; CL and 1878 omit this phrase 

CL and 1878 insert comma 

1878 has "a son homogeneite plus ou moins parfaite" = "on its more or less perfect homogeneity" (like Moigno) 

1878 omits comma 

1878 does not capitalize "messieurs" 

CL has "timbre : c'est" 

CL and 1878 have a comma in place of "et" 

3 5 

presentant les sons de la voix compares a ceux du cornet a piston, du 
hautbois, et d'une grande membrane de caoutchouc rendant 
des sons tres-graves. Les instruments, comme on pouvait le pressentir, 
se distinguent d'avec les voix par les caracteres de la vibration. Je vous 
soumettrai quelques epreuves de ce genre dans une prochaine seance. 
Voici le trace de cris explosifs, de hurlements compares avec le chant. 
Je crois avoir constate ce fait curieux qu'un son, soit d'un 
instrument, soit d'une voix, 141 donne une suite de vibrations d'autant 
plus regulieres, plus egales, et par consequent plus isochrones " qu'il 
est plus pur pour l'oreille, mieux file. Dans 143 le cri dechirant, dans les 
sons aigres des instruments, les ondes de condensation sont irregulieres, 
inegales, non isochrones. On pourrait presque dire qu'il y a, a ce point 
de vue, des sons faux et discords d'une facon absolue. Voici un autre 
aspect de la question du timbre : l43 c'est une planche qui montre les 
mauvais sons de la voix, les sons voiles. Avec un peu d'attention vous 
apercevrez une et 146 quel-{MS:8}quefois deux et me me trois vibrations 
secondaires s© combinees avec l'onde de condensation 147 principale. 

showing the sounds of the voice compared to those of the cornet, of the 
oboe, llld of a large membrane of rubber producing 
very low sounds. The instruments, as one might imagine, distinguish 
themselves from the voices by the characters of the vibration. I will 
submit to you some prints of this kind in an upcoming session. 
Here is the trace of explosive cries, of yells compared with singing. 
I believe I have noted the curious fact that a sound, be it of an 
instrument or of a voice, gives a series of vibrations the 
more regular, more even, and in consequence more isochronous, the 
more pure it is for the ear, the better held. In the heart-rending cry, in 
the sour sounds of instruments, the waves of condensation are irregular, 
uneven, not isochronous. One could almost say that there are, from this 
point of view, false and discordant sounds in an absolute way. Here is 
another aspect of the question of timbre: this is a plate that shows the 
bad sounds of the voice, the muted sounds. With a little attention you 
will see one and sometimes two and even three secondary vibrations xx- 
combined with the principal wave of condensation. 

«La facilite d'ecartement presque indefinie des molecules de 
{1878:46} lacouche sensible 149 semi-fluide nous 150 permettra d'etendre 
nos investigations et d'obtenir avec facilite le trace des mouvements 
les plus subtils, les plus delicats, autres que le mouvement sonore. Tels 
sont ceux du pendule a fil, de l'aiguille aimantee, les mouvements 
dus a l'elasticite, a la torsion. 133 Voici comme 154 specimen de ce genre 

"The almost unlimited facility of displacement of the molecules of 

the sensitive semi-fluid stratum will permit us to extend 

our investigations and to obtain with ease the trace of the subtlest, 

most delicate motions, other than sonorous motion. Such 

are those of the wire pendulum, of the magnetic needle, the motions 

due to elasticity, to torsion. Here as a specimen of this kind of 

et in margin 

140 1878 inserts comma 

141 CL has "que le son d'un instrument, d'une voix" 

142 CL and 1878 insert comma 

143 CL and 1878 have "file; dans" 

144 1878 omits "faux et" 

145 CL and 1878 have semicolon 

146 CL has "une, quelquefois" 

147 CL and 1878 omit "de condensation" 

148 CL inserts comma 

149 CL and 1878 omit "sensible" 

150 1878 omits "nous" (like Moigno) 

151 1878 has "les" (like Moigno) 

152 CL has "des vibrations" = "of the vibrations" 

153 1878 combines this sentence with the preceding one: "les mouvements, par exemple, du pendule, de l'aiguille aimantee, des vibrations dues a l'elasticite, a la 
torsion" = "the motions, for example, of the pendulum, of the magnetic needle, of the vibrations due to elasticity, to torsion." (like Moigno) 

154 1878 starts sentence with "Comme" (like Moigno) 


d'etudes, dont le champ me parait devoir etre assez vaste, 155 le trace 
d'un mouvement assez 3 curieux en physique : c'est celui d'un toton 
d'acier qui descend lentement un plan incline en se balancant sur son 
axe. Le nombre de ses tours et le mouvement de libration de l'axe b8 
sont nettement marques. Dans une autre seance je mettrai sous vos 
yeux la graphie de differentes explosions et de bruits rapides et 160 vous 
verrez qu'il est facile d'apprecier, de mesurer par nos moyens leur 
succession, leur caractere, leurs intensites relatives. 

studies, of which it seems to me the field must be quite vast, is the trace 
of a motion curious enough in physics, that of a steel teetotum 
which slowly descends an inclined plane while balancing itself on its 
axis. The number of its turns and the motion of libration of the axis are 
clearly marked. In another session I will place before your 
eyes the writing of different explosions and of rapid noises and you 
will see that it is easy to appreciate, to measure by this means their 
succession, their character, their relative intensities. 

«Vous le voyez done, Messieurs, voici * un art graphique tout 
nouveau qui surgit des entrailles de la physique, de la physiologie, de la 
chimie, de la mecanique. Je crois, en presence d'hommes aussi 
experimentes que vous l'etes, si bien au courant de l'histoire des 
decouvertes contemporaines, etre dispense de repondre plus 
categoriquement a une objection, toujours prematuree a mon sens en 
presence d'une invention qui nait : a quoi bon? II est pourtant une 
question que je prevois et a laquelle je desire repondre avec nettete 
avant de finir. Etes l66 -vous en mesure, me dira-t-on, de donner 167 
sans appareils couteux, sans nouveaux essais, une stenographic 
naturelle, immediatement traduisable, du discours, de l'improvisation? 
Non, Messieurs, et 168 voici pourquoi : Le 169 trace de la parole, encore 

"So you see, gentlemen, here is an entirely new graphic 
art which springs from the heart of physics, of physiology, of 
chemistry, of mechanics. I believe, in the presence of men as 
experienced as you are, so well acquainted with the history of 
contemporary discoveries, that I will be exempted from responding 
more categorically to an objection, always premature to my mind in the 
presence of an invention being born: to what good? It is, however, a 
question which I foresee and to which I wish to respond with clarity 
before finishing. Are you in a position, one will say to me, to give, 
without costly apparatus, without new trials, a natural 
stenography, immediately translatable, of speech, of improvisation? 
No, gentlemen, and here is why: Besides being still incomplete, the 

1878 inserts "je montre" (like Moigno) 

no CL and 1878 omit "assez" 

157 1878 has "physique, celui" (Moigno has "physique : celui") 

158 CL and 1878 omit "de l'axe" 

159 1878 ends paragraph: "Les essais de graphie de differentes explosions et des bruits rapides prouvent qu'il est facile d'apprecier, de mesurer par ce moyen leur 
succession, leur caractere, leur intensites relatives." = "The attempts at the writing of different outbursts and rapid noises prove that it is easy to appreciate, to 
measure by this means their succession, their character, their relative intensities." (like Moigno) 

160 CL has semicolon in place of "et" 

161 1878 omits "Vous le voyez done, Messieurs" (like Moigno) 

162 1878 inserts "done" = "thus" (like Moigno) 

163 CL and 1878 omit "de la chimie" 

164 Written over "en" 

165 CL has "Des hommes aussi experimentes que vous, et si bien au courant de l'histoire des decouvertes contemporaines, me dispenseront, je l'espere, de 
repondre a la banale objection: «A quoi bon?» toujours prete a saluer une invention naissante." = "Men as experienced as you, and so well acquainted with the 
history of contemporary discoveries, will excuse me, I hope, from responding to the banal objection: 'To what good?' always ready to greet a nascent invention." 
1878 (like Moigno) has "On me dispensera, j'espere" = "I will be excused, I hope...." — and continues as CL. 

166 CL and 1878 have "Etes" 

167 CL and 1878 insert comma 

168 1878 (like Moigno) has "Non. Et..." 

169 1878 (like Moigno) does not capitalize "le" 


incomplet d'ailleurs, que je vous soumets 170 en ce moment est 1' analyse 
des elements de la voix parlee; il est fonction, pour me servir d'une 
expression des mathematiciens, 171 {MS:9} de la tonalite, de l'intensite, 
du timbre; il n'est done pas la synthese de la parole, ni, a plus forte 
raison, un signe de pure convention, comme l'ecriture " qui n'a, qu'on 
ne l'oublie pas, aucune realite phenomenale, aucune base objective. 
Cette synthese, neanmoins, je la crois possible et je me propose de la 
tenter. 174 Mais, Messieurs, 175 de grandes obscurites pesent encore sur 
l'histoire de la voix articulee; quand nous saurons nettement ce 
qu'elle est, apres une etude complete de chacun de ses elements par nos 
precedes, nous transformerons {1878:47} le trace des mots en une suite 
de signes par des moyens mecaniques. Je prefererais marcher en ce 
moment du simple au compose et realiser la stenographic 
du chant et des instruments qui sera facile avec un moteur a mouvement 
uniforme. Je sollicite, Messieurs, les conseils des hommes 
competents pour m'aider a preparer des membranes plus sensibles, 
moins hygroscopiques, plus rapprochees des membranes 
physiologiques 179 que celles que je trouve 180 dans le commerce; car, 
vous le savez, l'industrie n'offre pas tout disposes les materiaux 
indispensables a des applications imprevues. Je profiterai bien 
volontiers aussi des indications des praticiens speciaux pour les 
questions de renforcement du son qui se presentent comme une 
necessite dans la graphie de la parole. 

«I1 y a, Messieurs, 182 je n'ai pas l'intention de le dissimuler, de 
nombreux precedents dans la carriere ou je suis entre. Je ne saurais 
sans trop de developpements, 183 en tracer un historique 

trace of speech which I submit at this moment is the analysis 

of the elements of the speaking voice; it is a function, to avail myself of 

an expression of mathematicians, of the tonality, of the intensity, 

of the timbre; it is not therefore the synthesis of speech, much less a 

sign of pure convention, like writing, which has, lest 

one forget, no phenomenal reality, no objective basis. 

Nevertheless, I believe this synthesis possible, and I propose to 

attempt it. But, gentlemen, some great obscurities still weigh upon the 

history of the articulated voice; when we know clearly what 

this is, after a complete study of each of its elements by our 

processes, we will transform the trace of the words into a series 

of signs by mechanical means. I would rather proceed at 

present from the simple to the compound and achieve the stenography 

of song and of instruments, which will be easy with a motor of uniform 

motion. I solicit, gentlemen, the counsels of men 

competent to aid me in preparing more sensitive, 

less hygroscopic membranes, closer to the physiological 

membranes than those I find in commerce; because, 

you know, industry does not offer fully prepared the materials 

indispensable to unforeseen applications. I will also gladly profit 

from the information of special practitioners on the 

questions of reinforcement of sound which present themselves as a 

necessity in the writing of speech. 

"There are, gentlemen, I have no intention of concealing it, 
numerous precedents in the course where I have entered. I would not 
know how, without too many dilations, to trace a suitable history 

1878 has "possede" = "possesses" (like Moigno) 

171 CL and 1878 have "il est, pour me servir d'une expression des mathematiciens, fonction de...." 

172 CL and 1878 insert comma 

173 1878 omits "aucune base objective" (like Moigno) 

174 CL inserts semicolon followed by "permettez-moi d'ajouter que j'en possede les moyens" = "allow me to add that I possess the means thereof 

175 1878 does not capitalize "messieurs" 

176 1878 begins new sentence 

177 CL and 1878 move "par des moyens mecani-{1878:47}ques," with comma, back between "procedes" and "le trace" 

178 1878 omits "Messieurs" 

179 CL and 1878 insert comma 

180 CL and 1878 substitute "usitees" = "used" 
1 8 ' CL inserts comma 

182 1878 does not capitalize "messieurs" 


convenable. Je me contenterai de citer les noms de Felix Savart, 
de Jean Miiller, de M. Duhamel, de M. Arthur Morin, de M. Wertheim, 
de M. Pouillet, de M. Lissajous. Les 184 essais, imparfaits encore, que je 
vous presente 185 me feront-ils pardonner d'avoir ose m'engager sur le 
sillon feconde par de tels maitres? 

Je 186 saisis aussi 1' occasion de temoigner ma profonde reconnaissance 
envers M. Pouillet de l'lnstitut, 187 et trois de vos membres, 188 
MM. Barreswil, 189 Antoine 190 Masson et Barral 19 ' qui m'ont donne des 
marques precieuses de leur bienveillante sympathie. 

{MS:10} «J'ai termine, Messieurs, et quoique je craigne d'avoir epuise 
votre indulgente attention, je n'ai pu qu'esquisser a grands traits 
l'ensemble des travaux que je poursuis depuis plusieurs annees. Je n'ai 
encore d' autre titre 192 a votre faveur qu'une conviction inebranlable, 
une perseverance absolue. J'ai vu le livre de la nature ouvert devant 
le regard de tous les hommes et, si peu que je sois, j'ai cm qu'il me 
serait permis de vouloir y lire. Mais je sens que la carriere est 
longue; la tache que je me suis donnee est lourde pour ma faiblesse et 
je ne saurais l'accomplir seul ce qu'il y a a faire. Examinez, {1878:48} 
Messieurs, ce que j'ai deja realise, ce que je 195 propose 
d'entreprendre, et si vous partagez un peu de mes esperances, 
daignez vous souvenir que je suis venu vous dire : aidez-moi ! 

thereof. I will content myself with citing the names of Felix Savart, 
Jean Miiller, Mr. Duhamel, Mr. Arthur Morin, Mr. Wertheim, Mr. 
Pouillet, Mr. Lissajous. Will the attempts, still imperfect, which I 
present to you, help pardon me for having dared enter upon the 
furrow rendered fertile by such masters? 

"I seize the occasion to show my profound gratitude 
towards Mr. Pouillet, of the Institut, and three of your members, 
Messrs. Barreswil, Antoine Masson and Barral, who have given me 
precious tokens of their kindly sympathy. 

"I have finished, gentlemen, and though I fear I have exhausted your 
indulgent attention, I have been able only to sketch in broad strokes the 
whole of the work which I have been pursuing for several years. I lay 
no claim yet to your favor than an unshakable conviction, an absolute 
perseverance. I saw the book of nature opened before the 
gaze of all men and, however small I may be, I believed it would be 
permitted me to want to read therein. But I sense that the course is 
long; the task I have set myself is heavy for my weakness and 
I do not know how to accomplish alone what there is to be done. 
Examine, gentlemen, what I have already achieved, what I propose to 
undertake, and if you share a little in my aspirations, deign to 
remember that I came to say to you: help me! 

1! " CL and 1878 omit comma 

184 CLhas"Ces" 

185 CL inserts comma 

186 CL and 1878 have quotation mark 

187 CL omits comma; 1878 sets off "de l'lnstitut" in commas 

188 1878 omits comma 

189 Final "1" corrected from "11" 

190 CL has "Ant." 

1 9 ' CL inserts comma 

192 1878 has "d'autres titres" 

193 1878 omits "une perseverance absolue" 

194 1878 omits "et" and starts a new sentence 

195 1878 inserts "me" 

196 1878 has "de faire et, si...." = "to do and, if...." 

197 CL substitutes a different paragraph: "Je termine. Puisse-je, Messieurs, n'avoir epuise votre indulgente attention, tout en n'esquissant qu'a grands traits des 
travaux poursuivis depuis plusieurs annees. Mon seul titre a votre faveur, c'est une conviction ferme, une perseverance constante. En voyant le livre de la nature 
ouvert aux regards de tous les hommes, j'ai cru pouvoir essayer d'y lire. La tache que je me suis donnee, je le sens, est lourde pour ma faiblesse : tout ce qu'il 
reste a faire, je ne saurais l'accomplir seul. Le peu que j'ai realise, ce que j'entrevois encore, vous daignerez l'examiner, Messieurs; et si vous partagez une 


M. le President . 198 Monsieur Scott, avez-vous fait acte de possession de 
vos precedes par quelque publication? Avez-vous des appareils? 

Mr. President. Mr. Scott, have you exercised an act of possession of 
your processes by any publication? Do you have any apparatuses? 

M. Leon Scott . ' " II y a quatre ans, j ' ai fait une premiere experience 
chez M. Giacomclli rcdactcur du Luth franca is u ° m ° sicien , 200 av ec 
1' assistance de MM. Sabbatier, Reboux pere et file plusieurs amis ; 201 j'ai 202 
depose un paquet cachete descriptif a l'lnstitut 203 au mois de Janvier 
dernier. 204 Ce paquet contient des epreuves 205 faites il y a quatre ans. 
M. le vicomte du Moncel a bien voulu faire connaitre dans les journaux 
mes premiers resultats au printemps dernier. 206 Le 25 mars j'ai pris 20 ' 
un brevet d'invention avec les fonds et sous les auspices de la Societe 
d'Encouragement." Depuis, j'ai depose a cette meme Societe' de 
nouveaux paquets cachetes. Je crois etre parfaitement en regie quant a 
la priorite d'invention. J'ai des appareils, 2 " en bois, en 
carton, en platre, que j'ai construits de mes mains et avec lesquels j'ai 
fait les experiences que j'ai l'honneur de vous soumettre.* 

Mr. Leon Scott. Four years ago, I made a first experiment at the house 
of Mr. Giacomelli editor of the Luth francais a musician , with the 
assistance of Messrs. Sabbatier, Reboux father and son several frie '' ds ; I 
deposited a sealed descriptive packet at the Institut in the month of 
January last. This packet contains prints made four years ago. 
The Viscount du Moncel was so kind as to make my first results known 
in the journals last spring. On 25 March I obtained 
a patent of invention with the funds and under the auspices of the 
Societe d'Encouragement. Since then, I have deposited with this same 
Societe some new sealed packets. I believe myself to be perfectly in 
order as to the priority of the invention. I have apparatuses of wood, of 
cardboard, of plaster, which I built with my hands and with which I 
made the experiments that I have had the honor of submitting to you. 

partie de mes esperances, veuillez vous rappeler qu'en vous consacrent ces premices je suis venu vous dire: «Aidez-moi!»" = "I conclude. May I not have 
exhausted your indulgent attention, gentlemen, while sketching only in broad strokes the work pursued for several years. My only claim to your favor is a firm 
conviction, a constant perseverance. Seeing the book of nature opened before the gaze of all men, I believed I could try to read therein. The task I have set 
myself is, I sense, heavy for my weakness; I do not know how to accomplish alone all that remains to be done. Condescend to examine, gentlemen, the little 
which I have achieved, what I still foresee; and if you share a little in my aspirations, be so kind as to remember that in dedicating to you these first steps I came 
to you to say: 'Help me!'" 

198 CL does not capitalize "president"; followed by m-dash in CL and 1878 
m Followed by m-dash in CL and 1878 

200 CL has "chez un musicien distingue" = "at the house of a distinguished musician" ; 1878 follows CL but substitutes "connu" = "known" for "distingue"; both 
omit following comma 

201 CL and 1878 have "de quelques amis" = "of some friends" 

202 1878 capitalizes "J'ai" 

203 1878 inserts comma 

204 CL has "dernier; ce" 

205 CL inserts "authentiques" 

206 CL has "dernier; le" 

207 1878 has "J'ai pris le 25 mars...." 

208 CL does not capitalize "encouragement"; both CL and 1878 insert a semicolon and continue "depuis...." 

209 1878 omits comma 

210 1878 moves "a cette meme Societe" to the end of the sentence 

211 1878 omits comma 

212 For this last sentence, CL substitutes: "Les experiences que j'ai eu l'honneur de vous soumettre ont ete faites avec des appareils en bois, en carton, en platre, 
que j'ai construits de mes mains. Tout imparfaits qu'ils soient, je pourrais, si vous le jugez utile, Messieurs, les faire fonctionner devant vous. I Paris, le 28 


{8/54-28 = PLATE 1} 

[margin, in ink] PI. I. notes du medium tenues et vocalisant — La 
membrane est une mince baudruche. Elle est placee, comme dans le 
conduit acoustique, dans une position inclinee par rapport a l'axe du 
tuyau. Les silences se traduisent par une ligne droite, certains 
renflements du son par l'onde dite d' inflexion . Dans les sons voiles 
l'onde de condensation est subdivisee en deux dents, l'une grande, 
l'autre petite 213 

[on reverse of sheet] Cette planche preuve nettement que l'appareil 
peut servir a compter le nombre des vibrations. 
J. Lissajous 

PI [ate] I. notes of medium pitch held and vocalized — The membrane 
is a thin goldbeater' s skin. It is placed, as in the acoustic 
conduit, in a position inclined with respect to the axis of the pipe. 
The silences are rendered by a straight line, certain swells of the 
voice by the wave called of inflection. In the muted sounds the wave 
of condensation is subdivided into two teeth, one large, the other 

This plate proves nicely that the apparatus 
can serve to count the number of vibrations. 
J. Lissajous 

{8/54-26 = PLATE 2} 

[underneath, in ink] PI. 2. Un" son de voix grave tenu dans le 
voisinage de la membrane. Deux vibrations secondaires se 
produisent pendant la vibration principale 

[underneath, in pencil, partly overwritten by the above] etude du 
trace des ondes" par un son de voix grave 

[top, in ink] Cette epreuve prouve nettement que l'appareil est apte a 
etudier le timbre. J. Lissajous 

Pl[ate] 2. A sound of deep voice held in 

proximity to the membrane. Two secondary vibrations are 

produced during the principal vibration 

study of the 

trace of the waves by a sound of deep voice 

This print proves nicely that the apparatus is suitable for 
studying timbre. J. Lissajous 

{8/54-4 = PLATE 3} 

[margin, in ink] PI. 3. Le style est applique directement sur le tuyau 
de frene qui porte la membrane et trace ses vibrations sous 
l'influence du chant. La figure de l'onde differe notablement des 
formes donnees par les membranes minces. 

Pl[ate] 3. The stylus is attached directly to the pipe of ash wood 
which carries the membrane and traces its vibrations under the 
influence of song. The figure of the wave differs notably from the 
forms given by thin membranes. 

octobre 1857." = "The experiments which I have had the honor of submitting to you were made with apparatuses of wood, of cardboard, of plaster, which I built 
with my hands. Very imperfect though they may be, I could, if you deem it useful, gentlemen, operate them before you. I Paris, 28 October 1857." 

213 A dotted line points from these words to a specific part of the trace 

214 Written over another word 

215 Written over "de l'onde" = "of the wave" 


{8/54-14 = PLATE 4} 

[bottom] cadences- 
l'onde d'inflexion 

-on voit simultanement l'onde de condensation et 

[margin, in ink] PI. IV. — Sous l'influence des mouvements 
energiques de la glotte qui ont lieu dans la cadence, la membrane 
eprouve un mouvement d'inflexion longitudinale qui ne trouble pas 
la regularite de l'onde de condensation. Dans cette experience le 
conduit a la forme du conduit auditif externe, la membrane est 
inclinee et tendue par le manche du marteau. 

cadences — one sees simultaneously the wave of condensation and the 
wave of inflection 

Pl[ate] IV. — Under the influence of energetic motions of the glottis 
which give place to the cadence, the membrane experiences a motion 
of longitudinal inflection which does not mar the regularity of the 
wave of condensation. In this experiment the conduit has the form of 
the external auditory canal, the membrane is inclined and stretched 
by the handle of the hammer. 

{8/54-5 = PLATE 5} 

[bottom] l'appogiatura . 216 Etude sur l'intensite 
mouvement de sforzendo sur chaque ton 

[margin, in ink] PI. V. Si Ton vient a rentier brusquement un son de 
voix, la membrane accomplit pendant la vibration un mouvement 
d'ondulation longitudinal tres prononce dans les distances de 30 a 40 

appogiatura . Study of intensity 
motion of sforzendo on each tone 

Pl[ate] V. If one should happen abruptly to swell a sound of voice, 
the membrane carries out during the vibration a very pronounced 
motion of longitudinal undulation in distances of 30 to 40 

{8/54-11 = PLATE 6} 

[beginning] vocalises — > 

[along trace] hurlements et cris:— > 

[bottom] dans le cri absence d'isochronisme : dans le chant le son est 

d'autant plus pur qu'il y a plus d'isochronisme 

[margin, in ink] PI. VI. Les mouvements brusques A e tota " e de l'air du 
tuyau qui se produisent dans le cri et le hurlements- produisent des 
ressauts dans la membrane. Les vibrations ne sont pas isochrones 
comme dans la vocalise. 

vocalises— > 

yells and cries :— > 

in the cry absence of isochronism: in the song the sound is 

the purer the more isochronism there is 

Pl[ate] VI. The abrupt motions A of totali,y of the air of the pipe which 

are produced in the cry and the yells produce jumps in 

the membrane. The vibrations are not isochronous as in the 


Ink was used to strike out "l'appogiatura" and write in "mouvement de sforzendo sur chaque ton'' 


{8/54-9 = PLATE 7} 

[bottom] affollement d'une membrane fortement tendue par le 

[margin, in ink] PI. VII. quand la voix en montant ou descendant 
vient a rencontrer le ton propre ou fondamental du conduit, il se 
produit un affollement qui est une sorte de combinaison du 
mouvement de vibration avec le mouvement marque dans la 
planche V. 

craziness of a membrane strongly stretched by the 

PI [ate] VII. when the voice in rising or descending happens to 

encounter the proper or fundamental tone of the conduit, it produces 

a craziness which is a sort of combination of the 

motion of the vibration with the motion shown in 

plate V. 

{8/54-10 = PLATE 8} 

[bottom] notre pere qui etes aux cieux 
Leon Scott octobre 1857 

[margin, in ink] PI VIII. Trace obtenu sous l'influence de la parole I 
c'est l'oraison dominicale tout entiere. Les modifications du tube 
oral sont indiques par les mouvements de torsion de la membrane. 

our father who art in heaven 
Leon Scott October 1857 

Pl[ate] VIII. Trace obtained under the influence of speech I 
this is the whole Lord' s Prayer. The modifications of the oral 
tube are indicated by the motions of torsion of the membrane. 

{8/54-13 = plate 9} 

[bottom] 217 mouvement du toton arme d'un cheveu 

[margin, in ink] PI. IX mouvement du point de sustentation du toton 
sur un plan incline. Ce precede s'applique egalement aux 
mouvements du pendule et de 1' aiguille aimantee a la seule condition 
d'un mouvement uniforme de la couche sensible. 

motion of the teetotum equipped with a hair 

Pl[ate] IX motion of the point of sustentation of the teetotum on an 
inclined plane. This process is applied equally to movements of the 
pendulum and of the magnetized needle on the sole condition of a 
uniform motion of the sensitive stratum. 

This is actually upside-down relative to the usual position of a "bottom" inscription relative to a "margin" inscription. 


SEIN 8/54-18 bis 

On 16 November 1857, Scott deposited a copy of the print edition of "Fixation Graphique de la Voix" with the SEIN (8/54-29), as well as a 
phonautogram of declamation and three accompanying documents (8/54-19). A revised version of the cover letter appears on page 38 of Scott's 
self-published book of 1878, Le probleme de la parole s'ecrivant elle-meme ("1878"). 


Je viens vous prier de vouloir bien recevoir, au nom de la Societe 

d'Encouragement, les trois pieces suivantes et d'y apposer 

le cachet et la date. Ce paquet" est destine, si vous le jugez convenable, 

a etre mis avec le dernier sous les yeux du 

comite et des personnes qui vous demanderaient des renseignements 

sur la question, car je n'ai fait encore aucune communication au public. 

J'ai fait imprimer pour n'avoir pas a le copier a la main mon discours 

du 28 octobre, il a ete envoye aux membres du conseil de la Societe et a 

vingt membres seulement de 1' Academie des Sciences. 

Cette petite publication a 100 exemplaires n'a done pas d'autre 

caractere qu'une simple communication orale a la Societe 

d'Encouragement. 7 


I am going to ask you to be so kind as to receive, in the name of the 
Societe d'Encouragement, the three following pieces and to affix 
thereon the seal and the date. This packet is intended, if you deem it 
suitable, to be placed with the last one beneath the eyes of the 
committee and of persons who should request from you information on 
the question, because I have made no other communication to the 

I had printed, in order not to copy it by hand, my discourse 

of 28 October, it has been sent to the members of the council of the 

Societe and to only twenty members of the Academie des Sciences. 

This little publication of 100 copies has no other 

character than a simple oral communication to the Societe 


1 1878 has "le paquet suivant" = "the following packet" — followed by a comma 

2 1878 has "II" = "It" 

3 1878 omits "avec le dernier" 

4 1878 omits "du comite et" 

3 1878 omits the remainder of the paragraph and the paragraph break 

6 This word appears to be "votre" overwritten as "la" 

7 1878 substitutes for this paragraph: "J'ai fait imprimer, pour ne pas la copier a la main, la piece ci-jointe a cent exemplaires seulement pour les membres du 
Conseil et vingt membres de 1' Academie des sciences. Elle n'a pas d'autre caractere que celui d'une simple communication orale a la Societe 
d'Encouragement." = "I had it printed, in order not to copy it by hand, the attached document in a hundred copies solely for members of the Council and twenty 
members of the Academie des Sciences. It has no other character than that of a simple oral communication to the Societe d'Encouragement." 


J'ai l'honneur d'etre, Monsieur, votre tres humble et tres devoue 

Leon Scott 
ce 16 novembre 1857' 
Monsieur Delacroix, agent general de la Societe d'Encouragement 

{8/54-19 [1]} 

[bottom] Declamation ecrite par la voix meme : s'il faut qu'a ce 
rival terribles mains! L. Scott, 1857 

[underneath, in ink] la voix a trop d'intensite pour la distance de 50 
centimetres. Dans les mots pour lui , et tomber vivant 
formant explosion, le style s'est affole et a quitte la 
couche sensible (voir la glose ci-joint). 

Recule 16 9bre 1857 Ch A 

I have the honor to be, Sir, your very humble and very devoted 

Leon Scott 
this 16 November 1857 
Mr. Delacroix, general agent of the Societe d'Encouragement 

Declamation written by the voice itself: so it must be that to this 
rival terrible hands ! L. Scott, 1857 

the voice has too much intensity for the distance of 50 
centimeters. In the words pour lui ["for him"] and tomber vivant 
["fall alive"] forming explosion, the stylus went crazy and left the 
sensitive stratum (see attached gloss). 

Received 16 9ber [i.e., November] 1857 Ch A 

{8/54-19 [2]} 

Note sur l'ecriture phonautographique. 

Notre ecriture courante n'exprime qu'un seul des modes suivant 
lesquels la voix represente la pensee; elle n'est propre a figurer que 
1' articulation. L'ecriture ou stenographic naturelle, dont voici les 
premiers rudiments, en rend le rhythme, l'expression : elle est fonction 
de la tonalite, de l'intensite, du timbre, de la mesure. A ce titre elle est 
appelee a jouer dans les relations de la vie intellectuelle un role nouveau 
et imprevu; elle sera la parole vivante; notre calligraphic a la main ou 
imprimee n'est que la parole morte. J'ai essay e (voir le feuillet suivant) 
de figurer en ecriture ordinaire, sans ajouter un seul signe, les inflexions 
de l'ecriture phonautographique; le lecteur est prie de suppleer a ce que 
ma plume n'a pas pu rendre, la tenue et la coulee du son, la voix 
saccadee, si bien formees dans la planche naturelle ci-jointe. 

Note on phonautographic writing. 

Our current writing expresses but one only of the modes according to 
which the voice represents thought; it is suited to representing nothing 
but articulation. Natural writing or stenography, of which here are the 
first rudiments, returns the rhythm, the expression thereof: it is a 
function of tonality, of intensity, of timbre, of measure. For this reason 
it is called to play a new and unforeseen role in the relations of 
intellectual life; it will be living speech; our manual or printed 
calligraphy is nothing but dead speech. I have tried (see the attached 
sheet) to represent in ordinary language, without adding a single sign, 
the inflections of phonautographic writing; the reader is asked to supply 
that which my pen was unable to render, the holding and the flow of the 
sound, the jerky voice, so well formed in the natural plate attached. 

Paris, ce 14 novembre 1857 
Leon Scott 

Paris, this 14 November 1857 
Leon Scott 

Recule 16 9bre 1857 Ch A 

Received 16 Nov 1857 Ch A 

1878 hyphenates "tres-humble" and "tres-devoue" 
1878 has "LeonScott. Ce 16 novembre 1857." 



Traduction en ecriture figurative ordinaire de 1' ecriture 
phonautographique representant l'intensite, la mesure, la tonalite, le 

Translation into ordinary figurative writing of 

phonautographic writing representing intensity, measure, tonality, 


s'il faut qu'a ce rivall hedelmone infidelle ait remis ce bandeau 
dans leur rrage crruelle noslions [sic] du desert sous leur antre brulant 
dechirent quel que fois le voyageur trrremblant il vaudrait mieux 
pour lui que leur faim devorante dispersat les lambeaux de sa chair 
pallllpitannnte que de tomber vivant dans mes terrribles mains. 

so it must be that to this rivall faithless hedelmone gave this diadem 
in their crruel rrage our lions of the desert beneath their burning lair 
sometimes tear apart the trrrembling traveler it would be better 
for him for their devouring hunger to scatter the scraps of his 
pallllpitating flesh than to fall alive into my terrrible hands. 

voix basse 



tres intense 

sons aigus 


timbre des parois membraneuses 

onde d'inflexion 


low voice 



very intense 

acute sounds 


timbre of membranous walls 

wave of inflection 



SEIN 8/54-18 

On 9 December 1857, Scott deposited "four new experimental pieces" on the question of timbre with the SEIN, as well as a page of notes (8/54- 
37) specifically regarding the timbre of the cornet. Presumably at least one of the two "timbre of the cornet" phonautograms also found in the 
Scott dossier (8/54-31, 8/54-34) was among them, and the others must also have had something to do with timbre. However, there are not four but 
seventeen phonautograms in the Scott dossier left unaccounted for by Scott's earlier cover letters, dating back to March (8/54-2) and July (8/54- 
3). They are all listed at the end of this document in the order in which they appear in the dossier; however, thirteen of them — that is, all but 
whichever four accompanied this letter — must have entered the dossier through some other, as yet undetermined mechanism. 

Monsieur le President, 

Mr. President, 

La Societe d'Encouragement a bien voulu, il y a un an, prendre sous sa 
protection mes travaux sur la fixation graphique du son . Je viens vous 
prier de mettre sous les yeux du conseil quatre nouvelles pieces 
experimentales auxquelles s'attachera, je l'espere, un certain interet, 
puisqu'elles jettent du jour sur une question bien obscure jusqu'a 
present, celle du timbre . Le probleme du timbre m' a paru complexe. II 
se presente a mes yeux sous les trois aspects suivants: l e La forme 
vibratoire plus ou moins arrondie ou plus ou moins aigue selon la 
densite du milieu ebranle, 2 e l'isochronisme ou le non-isochronisme des 
vibrations selon que le son se rapproche davantage d'un son musical 
parfait ou d'un bruit; 3e Le detail de la vibration, c'est-a-dire les 
condensations et rarefactions partielles qui peuvent se produire dans une 
meme vibration du fluide. 

The Societe d'Encouragement was so good a year ago as to take under 
its protection my work on the graphic fixation of sound. I am going to 
ask you to place beneath the eyes of the council four new experimental 
pieces to which will be attached, I hope, a certain interest, since they 
cast light on a question hitherto quite obscure, that of timbre. The 
problem of timbre seemed complex to me. It presents itself to my eyes 
under the three following aspects: 1. The more or less round or more or 
less acute vibratory form according to the density of the agitated 
medium, 2. The isochronism or non-isochronism of the vibrations 
depending on whether the sound more approaches a perfect musical 
sound or a noise; 3. The detail of the vibration, that is to say the 
partial condensations and rarefactions which can be produced in the 
same vibration of the fluid. 

Je serais tres honore, Monsieur le President, si vous daigniez permettre 
qu'a le fin de cette seance je donne verbalement quelques explications 
sur cette question si neuve et qui interesse sous plus d'un rapport 
l'industrie des metaux et celle de la facture des instruments. Je vous 
prierai egalement de vouloir bien faire annexer la note ci-jointe au 
proces-verbal de la seance. 

I would be very honored, Mr President, if you would deign to permit 
me to give verbally at the end of this meeting some explanations on 
this question so new and which interests, in more than one respect, the 
industry of metals and that of the manufacture of instruments. I will 
also ask you to be so kind as to have the attached note annexed to the 
official report of the meeting. 

J'ai l'honneur d'etre, Monsieur le President, votre tres humble et tres 
devoue serviteur 

Leon Scott 

rue Taranne, 6. 

ce 9 decembre 1857. 

I have the honor to be, Mr President, your very humble and very 
devoted servant 

Leon Scott 

rue Taranne, 6. 

this 9 December 1857. 





figures du timbre du cornet a piston dans l'air a 25 centimetres de la 

membrane du tympan graphique. 

Note deposee le 9 decembre 1857 par M. Leon Scott pour etre annexee 
au proces-verbal de la seance. 



figures of the timbre of the cornet in the air at 25 centimeters from the 

membrane of the graphic tympanum. 

Note deposited 9 December 1857 by Mr. Leon Scott to be annexed 
to the report of the meeting. 

Le timbre , considere en general, se compose de trois elements: 1° la 
forme 8enerale des vibrations; 2° leur regularite ou leur irregularite et leur 
isochronisme ou leur non-isochronisme; 3° le detail de la vibration. 

Timbre, considered in general, is composed of three elements: 1. the 
general f orm f m e vibrations; 2. their regularity or irregularity and their 
isochronism or nonisochronism; 3. the detail of the vibration. 

1 ° Les fluides qui vibrent et les corps de nature membraneuse donnent 
une forme vibratoire plus arrondie; les corps denses et homogenes 
fournissent une vibration a angle sensi ement aigu. 

2° Les sons d'instrument et de voix donnent une vibration d'autant plus 
reguliere qu'ils sont plus nets et plus purs; dans le cri imitant le 
rugissement il y a, comme dans les bruits, absence d'isochronisme. 

3° Quand un son forme dans un fluide ou transmis a un fluide est 
communique par influence a un solide, comme la pavilion d'un 
instrument de cuivre, par exemple, celui-ci accepte de l'ebranlement ce 
que lui permet la liberte d'oscillation de ses molecules; il est co-vibrant, 
qu'on me permette cette expression, mais a sa maniere et il 

' e ta t periodique 

un mouvement 

communique a son tour au fluide ambiant a 
compose qui constitue son timbre propre de solide. C'est ainsi que 
s'explique le detail de la vibration du cornet a piston dans la figure ci- 
contre. Cette propriete des solides de co-vibrer en raison de leur 
elastique composition moleculaire, ou mieux du mode de leur 
agregation, me fournira le moyen d'obtenir par ma methode quelques 
lumieres sur la texture intime des corps aptes a vibrer. 

1 . Fluids that vibrate and bodies of membranous nature give 

a more rounded vibratory form; dense and homogenous bodies 
furnish a vibration at an angle P" ce P ,lbl >' sharp. 

2. Sounds of instrument and voice give a more regular 
vibration the clearer and purer they are; in the shout imitating the 
roar there is, as in noises, an absence of isochronism. 

3. When a sound formed in a fluid or transmitted to a fluid is 
communicated by influence to a solid, such as the bell of an 
instrument of copper, for example, this accepts from the agitation that 
which permits the liberty of oscillation of its molecules; it is co- vibrant, 
if one permits me this expression, but in its manner and it 
communicates in its turn to the ambiant fluid t0 ' £ peri ° 1C stlte a composite 
motion which constitutes its proper timbre of solid. Thus is 
explained the detail of the vibration of the cornet in the figure 
opposite. This property of solids of co-vibrating because of their 
elastic molecular composition, or better of the mode of their 
aggregation, furnishes me the means of obtaining by my method some 
light on the internal texture of bodies capable of vibrating. 

Leon Scott 

ce 9 decembre 1857 

Leon Scott 

this 9 December 1857 



[side, in ink] ut I ut# I re I re# I mi I fa I fa# I sol I sol# I la I la# I si I do 2 
I do# 2 1 re 2 ton fondament. du tuyau 

[immediately underneath, in ink] cornet. I L. Scott, brevet 
d'invention s.g.d. gouv. 1 I mars 1857 

[further underneath, in pencil] cornet 

gamme par demi-tones — Le nombre des vibrations est parfaitement 
conforme aux principes theoriques — mais l'appareil n'est pas 
regie a la seconde 

do I do# I re I re# I mi I fa I fa# I sol I sol# I la I la# I si I do* 
I do# 2 1 re 2 fundamental tone of pipe 

cornet. I L. Scott, patent 

without governmental guarantee I March 1857 


scale by half-tones — The number of the vibrations is perfectly 
in keeping with theoretical principles — but the apparatus is not 
regulated to the second 


[underneath, in ink] Axxxx le Chant de la voix- 
ton — membrane de baudruche perpendiculaire- 

-changements de 
-vitesse a la main 

Xxxxx xx Song of the voice- 

-changes of 

tone — perpendicular membrane of goldbeater' 

5 skin- 

-speed by 


July 1857 


[underneath, in pencil] 

la voix chantee ecrite par elle-meme a 50 centimetres de distance 

the sung voice written by itself at 50 centimeters of distance 


[left side, next to separate, vertically mounted trace, in pencil] 
le to ton d'acier 

[bottom] notes cadencees — on voit l'onde de condensation et l'onde 
d'inflexion se produire simultanement 

[underneath, in pencil] 

la cadence dans le chant a 50 centimetres de distance 

the steel teetotum 

cadenced notes — one sees the wave of condensation and the wave 
of inflection produced simultaneously 

the cadence in the song at 50 centimeters of distance 

"sans garantie du Gouvernement" 



[bottom] vibrations du bois sous l'influence de la voix 

[underneath, in pencil] 

graphie moleculaire d'un tuyau de frene sous l'influence de la voix 

vibrations of wood under the influence of the voice 

molecular writing of a pipe of ash under the influence of the voice 


[bottom] gamme de do a do puis de do" a do. Voix 

[margin, in pencil] les conduits de forme geometrique ont un ton 
propre qui affole la style : etude sur la tonalite 

scale from do to do" then from do" to do. Voice 

conduits of geometrical form have a proper tone 
which makes the stylus go crazy: study of tonality 


[bottom] conduit de platre imitant les courbures du conduit externe 
il n'a pas de ton propre sensible 
Leon Scott 25 novembre 

conduit of plaster imitating the curves of the external conduit: 
it has no perceptible proper tone 
Leon Scott 25 November 


[margin, in pencil] etude sur le timbre de la voix 
cette epreuve ne me satisfait pas 

study of the timbre of the voice 
this print does not satisfy me 


[bottom] etude sur l'onde d'inflexion : vocalises 

study of the wave of inflection: vocalises 


[bottom] etude sur l'onde d'inflexion 

study of the wave of inflection 



[along trace] 1 I 2 I 3 I 4 I 5 I 6 I 7 I 8 I 9 I 10 I 11 I 12 I 13 I 14 I 15 I 16 
I 17 I 18 I 19 I 20 I 21 I 22 I 23 I 24 I 25 I 26 I 27 

1 12 I 3 1415 16 17 I 8 19 I 101 11 I 121 13 1 141 15 1 16 
I 17 I 18 I 19 I 20 I 21 I 22 I 23 I 24 I 25 I 26 I 27 


[underneath, left, in ink] voix humaine — chant 
[underneath, right, in ink] Leon Scott — aotit 1857 

human voice — song 
Leon Scott — August 1857 


[side, in pencil] Timbre du Cornet a piston 

Timbre of the Cornet 


[bottom] etude comparative du cri de rugissement et du chant = le 
chant est mis en interligne. Dans le chant les vibrations sont egales 
ou isochrones, dans le rugissement elles ne le sont pas. Regardez a la 
loupe, s. v. plait. 
L. Scott 

comparative study of the shout of roaring and of song = the song is 
given in the interlinear space. In the song the vibrations are equal 
or isochronous, in the roar they are not. Examine with 
loupe, please. 
L. Scott 


[bottom] voix et cornet sans deranger la position du style 
["voix" and "cornet" written at various spots along trace] 

voice and cornet without disturbing the position of the stylus 


[side, in pencil] Timbre du Cornet a piston 

Timbre of the Cornet 


{8/54-35 [1]} 

[underneath, in pencil] la declamation ecrite par la voix elle : meme 
s'il faut qu'a ce rival (voir la glose ci-jointe) 

declamation written by the voice itself: 

so it must be that to this rival (see attached gloss) 


Traduction en ecriture figurative ordinaire de l'ecriture 
phonautographique representant l'expression: tonalite, mesure, 
intensite, timbre 

s'il faut qu'a ce rivall hedelmone infidelle ait remis ce bandeau 
dans leur rrage crruelle nos lions du desert sous leur antre brulant 
dechirent quelquefois le voyageur tremblant il vaudrait mieux 
pour lui que leur faim devorante dispersat les lambeaux de sa chair 
palllpitante que de tomber vivant dans mes terrrribles mains. 

explication: voix basse 

voix moyenne 

voix intense 

voix tres intense 

sons aigus 

sons graves 

timbre des parties membraneuses. 

onde d'inflexion 

petits et grands silences. 

Translation into ordinary figurative writing of phonautographic 
writing representing expression: tonality, measure, 
intensity, timbre 

so it must be that to this rivall faithless hedelmone gave this diadem 
in their crruel rrage our lions of the desert beneath their burning lair 
sometimes tear apart the trembling traveler it would be better 
for him for their devouring hunger to scatter the scraps of his 
palllpitating flesh than to fall alive into my terrrrible hands. 

explanation: low voice 

medium voice 

intense voice 

very intense voice 

acute sounds 

grave sounds 

timbre of membranous parts 

wave of inflection 

small and large silences. 

2 The text in 8/54-19 has "parois'' 


Certificat d' Addition 

Scott deposited this addendum to his phonautograph patent on 29 July 1859. It was duly recorded on 3 September 1859 and published along with 
the earlier patent text in 1867 under the number 17897. Three variants are incorporated below, as before: the original manuscript version of 
1859 preserved in the archives of the Institut National de la Propriete Industrielle ("1859," this time not in Scott's own handwriting), the official 
print version published in volume 60 of the series Description des machines et precedes in 1867 ("1867"), and another print version published in 
Scott's self-published book of 1878, Le probleme de la parole s'ecrivant elle-meme ("1878"). An earlier version of this text and translation 
appears in First Sounds Working Paper 2, without 1867, but with a facsimile of 1859. Here, too, I am indebted to Isabelle Trocheris for her 
diligent review and correction of my initial transcription and translation, as well as to George Brock-Nannestad for an earlier translation 
produced in connection with the Scott sesquicentennial in 2007. 

{1859:9; 1867:359; 1878:53} Specification annexee a ma demande du 
29 juillet 1859 d'un certificat d'addition a mon brevet d'invention 
delivre le 25 mars 1857 sous le n o1 31470 pour un precede d'ecriture et 
de dessin par le son (acoustique) 

Specification appended to my request of 

29 July 1859 for a certificate of addition to my patent of invention 
issued 25 March 1857 under the number 31470 for a process of writing 
and drawing by sound (acoustic) 

La Phonautographie est un art nouveau cree 2 par une invention de M. 
Edouard 3 -Leon Scott, 4 pour laquelle il a pris un brevet de quinze ans a 
la date du 25 Mars 1857. Cet art se propose pour objet 5 d'obtenir 
facilement une impression correcte des mouvements rapides et 
specialement des mouvements vibratoires qui s'accomplissent dans l'air 
et qui sont produits par des agents quelconques, mecaniques, physiques 
ou physiologiques, et entre autres par les instruments d' acoustique, de 
musique, ou meme les voix. 

Phonautography is a new art created by an invention of Mr. 
Edouard-Leon Scott, for which he obtained a fifteen-year patent 
dated 25 March 1857. This art proposes as its object to obtain 
with ease a correct impression of rapid movements, and 
especially of vibratory movements that are executed in the air 
and are produced by any agents mechanical, physical, 
or physiological; and, among other things, by acoustic 
or musical instruments, or even voices. 

1878 has "numero" written out 
" 1878 has "cree" 

3 1878 has "Edouard" 

4 1878 omits comma 

5 1867 is headed "CERTIFICAT D'ADDITION, En date du 29 juillet 1859. 
phonautography, it is proposed to obtain...." 

6 1878 omits comma 

It begins simply: "Par la phonautographie, on se propose d'obtenir...." = "By 


Le brevet d'invention reposait 7 essentiellement sur trois moyens qui, 
soit separement 8 soit par leur reunion, sont l'ame des divers appareils et 
manipulations 9 dont se compose la Phonautographie. 10 
Ces trois moyens sont: 

1° L'application d'un style sur une membrane placee a l'extremite d'un 
conduit dont les formes peuvent varier selon l'objet 
special qu'on a en vue; 

2°L'emploi d'un style souple, d'origine animale ou vegetale, et 
compose d'une ou de plusieurs parties; 

3° La fixation, au moyen d'un ou de plusieurs bains chimiques, du trace 
obtenu sur un papier ou tissu revetu d'une couche d'un noir de lampe 

The patent of invention was based essentially on three methods which 
are, either separately or in combination, the core of the various 
apparatuses and manipulations of which phonautography is composed. 
These three methods are: 

1 . The application of a stylus to a membrane placed at the end of a 
conduit, of which the forms may be varied according to the particular 
object one has in view; 

2. The use of a flexible stylus of animal or vegetable origin and 
composed of one or more parts; 

3. The fixing by means of one or more chemical baths of the trace 
obtained on a paper or fabric covered with a stratum of special 

J'insiste sur ce point que ces moyens constituent trois inventions ou 
decouvertes qui peuvent etre appliquees 12 aux sciences et aux arts 
isolement ou combinees deux a deux. Par exemple, le style peut etre 
adapte a un etre ou a un objet en mouvement pour inscrire sur la couche 
sensible ses deplacements et les mesurer, ou bien sur 
des moteurs ou {1878:54} des mecanismes tres-varies. 14 La fixation du 
noir de lampe impressionne permet de conserver la trace des 
mouvements d'agents animes ou inanimes et des 15 dessins naturels 
teilement subtils qu'on n'aurait pu se les procurer autrement. 

Ces trois moyens reunis ' 6 et appropries par differentes dispositions a la 
nature des phenomenes qu'on se propose d'enregistrer 17 suffisent pour 

I insist on the point that these methods constitute three inventions or 
discoveries that can be applied to the sciences and arts 
in isolation or combined two at a time. For example, the stylus can be 
applied to a being or to an object in motion in order to inscribe its 
movements on the sensitive stratum and measure them, or indeed to 
motors or mechanisms in great variety. The fixing of the 
impressed lampblack allows for preserving the trace of the 
movements of animate or inanimate agents and of natural designs 
so subtle that they could not be procured in any other way. 

These three methods, combined and adapted by different arrangements 
to the nature of the phenomena one proposes to record, suffice for 

7 1867 substitutes "repose" = "is based" 

8 1867 and 1878 insert comma 

' 1867 omits "et manipulations" 

1(1 1867 does not capitalize "phonautographie" and inserts a paragraph break 

11 1878 italicizes "trois inventions" 

12 1867 substitutes "trois applications qu'on peut faire" = "three applications that can be made" 

13 1867 inserts paragraph break 

14 1867 inserts paragraph break 

15 1867 and 1878 have "de" 

16 1867 inserts comma 

17 1867 inserts comma 


obtenir une image graphique 18 fidele et detaillee d'un tres-grand 
nombre de phenomenes produits dans l'air qui nous environne. On 
concevra sans peine combien il est curieux, {1867:360} au point de vue 
de la science, de conserver la representation exacte des phases par 
lesquelles passe un phenomene qu'on avait cru simple" pendant un 
intervalle de temps insaisissable a nos sens par sa brievete, quelques 
milliemes de seconde seulement. 21 La Phonautographie, 22 par exemple, 
met aux mains des physiciens et des physiologistes un diagramme 
naturel des etats successifs ou simultanes des corps qui sont 
la cause primitive de nos sensations. 

obtaining a faithful and detailed graphic image of a very great 
number of phenomena produced in the air that surrounds us. It may 
easily be conceived how curious it is from the point of view 
of science to preserve the exact representation of the phases through 
which a phenomenon that had been thought simple passes during an 
interval of time that eludes our senses by its brevity, just a few 
thousandths of a second. For example, phonautography 
places in the hands of physicists and physiologists a natural 
diagram of the successive or simultaneous states of bodies which are 
the primitive cause of our sensations. 

La plupart de ces mouvements sont si delicats et si rapides" que leur 
inscription sur une couche sensible presentait les plus grandes 
difficultes. 24 Le frottement du pinceau le plus leger en masque 
entierement la loi. 25 J'ai done du adopter en phonautographie 26 un style 
ferme et souple a la fois, {1859:10} sans poids appreciable, 
completement different sous ce rapport du style metallique employe par 
M. Wertheim pour ecrire les vibrations des solides. 27 Le style 
phonautographique, a pointe tres-fixe, marque par une sorte de 
balayage 28 sa trace sur une couche mince de noir de lampe produite par 
une huile speciale et deposee par voie la sublimation. Etant* suspendu 
a l'etat semi-fluide, ce noir n'a presque aucune adherence avec le papier 
ou tissu qui l'arrete pendant son ascension. L'image 
phonautographique aussitot formee est fixee par le precede decrit dans 
le brevet et determine 3 ' plus specialement ci-dessous. Elle peut etre 
ensuite multipliee, s'il y a lieu, par les moyens connus. 

The majority of these movements are so delicate and so rapid that their 

inscription on a sensitive stratum presented the greatest 

difficulties. The friction of the lightest brush entirely obscures 

the law thereof. In phonautography I have therefore had to adopt a 

stylus both firm and flexible, without appreciable weight, 

completely different in this regard from the metallic stylus employed by 

Mr. Wertheim to write the vibrations of solids. The phonautographie 

stylus, with very fixed point, marks its trace by a kind of 

sweeping on a thin stratum of lampblack produced by a special oil and 

deposited by means of sublimation. Being suspended 

in a semi-fluid state, this blacking has hardly any adherence to the paper 

or fabric which takes it up in its ascent. As soon as it is formed, the 

phonautographie image is fixed by the procedure described in 

the patent and determined more particularly below. It may then be 

multiplied, if necessary, by known methods. 

18 1867 

19 1867 

20 1878 

21 1867 

22 1867 

23 1867 

24 1867 

25 1867 

26 1878 

27 1867 

28 1867 

29 1867 

30 1867 

31 1867 

inserts comma 

inserts paragraph break 

inserts comma 

inserts paragraph break 

and 1878 do not capitalize "phonautographie" 

inserts comma 

inserts paragraph break 

inserts paragraph break 

capitalizes "Phonautographie" 

inserts paragraph break 

and 1878 set off "par une sorte de balayage" with commas 

and 1878 have "Etant" 

inserts paragraph break 

omits "determine" 


Je vais maintenant indiquer les additions au brevet qui font l'objet du 
present certificat. Dans le brevet du 25 Mars 1857, tout en declarant 
que l'invention me paraissait independante de la nature du 
moteur qui imprime la vitesse a la couche sensible, j'avais indique un 
moteur a mouvement uniforme pour communiquer un va-et-vient 
progressif et regulier a cette couche. 33 J'ai reconnu depuis 
que, pour un tres-grand {1878:55} nombre d' applications, on pouvait se 
contenter du mouvement continu d'un cylindre mu par une vis en 
helice s'avancant dans un ecrou fixe. 3 C'est cette disposition qui est 
representee dans la vue generale de l'appareil construit par M. Rudolph 
Koenig (planche I). 36 L'experimentateur est dispense de l'uniformite de 
mouvement de la couche sensible: il lui suffit alors pour compter le 
temps ou mesurer la duree d'un phenomene, si courte qu'elle soit, de 
faire pointer simultanement sur le cylindre en mouvement un 
chronometre a secondes ou un diapason arme du style souple et 

etalonne a un nombre determine de vibrations, par exemple 
500 par seconde. 

1000 ou 

J'ai ajoute depuis la prise du brevet a l'anneau prehenseur 39 ou mieux 4 
tenseur de la membrane une piece d'abord nommee manche du 
marteau, 42 par analogie avec une disposition analogue de l'organe de 
l'ouie, mais que j'appellerai aujourd'hui pour plus d'exactitude 43 le 
subdiviseur de la membrane. 44 Cette piece, telle qu'elle figure dans 
l'appareil construit 45 est representee avec detail dans la planche I. 4 

I will now point out the additions to the patent which are the subject of 
the present certificate. In the patent of 25 March 1857, while declaring 
that the invention appeared to me to be independent of the nature of the 
motor which imparts speed to the sensitive stratum, I had indicated a 
motor of uniform movement for communicating a progressive and 
regular to-and-fro movement to this stratum. I have since recognized 
that for a very great number of applications one could be 
satisfied with the continuous movement of a cylinder moved by a 
helical screw advancing in a fixed nut. It is this arrangement that is 
represented in the general view of the apparatus built by Mr. Rudolph 
Koenig (plate I). The experimenter is exempted from uniformity of 
movement of the sensitive stratum: for counting time or measuring the 
duration of a phenomenon, however short it be, it is then sufficient for 
him to cause to mark simultaneously on the moving cylinder a 
chronometer in seconds or a tuning fork fitted with a flexible stylus and 
calibrated to a determined number of vibrations, for example 1000 or 
500 per second. 

Since obtaining the patent I have added to the gripper or, 

better, stretcher ring of the membrane a piece first named the handle 

of the hammer, by analogy with an analogous arrangement of the organ 

of hearing, but which for greater precision I now call the 

subdivider of the membrane. This piece, as it appears in 

the built apparatus, is represented in detail in plate I. 

: "I have applied a motor. 

"This arrangement is employed in physics courses." — then a paragraph break. 

1867 omits paragraph to this point and begins "J'avais applique un moteur...." 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 and 1878 have "mu" 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 substitutes "Cette disposition est employee dans les cours de physique." : 

1867 inserts comma 

1867 inserts comma 

1878 sets off "a l'anneau prehenseur" with commas 

40 1867 omits "prehenseur ou mieux" 

41 1878 inserts comma 

42 1867 italicizes "manche de marteau" 

43 1867 and 1878 set off "pour plus d'exactitude" with commas 

44 1867 italicizes "subdiviseur de la membrane" and inserts a paragraph break. 1878 inserts "(T)," referring to an endnote on pp. 72-3: "Cette piece dont je 
n'accepte pas la responsabilite, est la realisation d'une theorie de Chladni et de Savart. Elle est due a {73} M. Koenig. J'ai concu tout autrement la solution de la 
difficulte des nceuds et des ventres. Voir plus haut, piece n° 6." = "This part, for which I do not take responsibility, is the realization of a theory of Chladni and 


Elle sert a determiner dans la membrane des lignes nodales 47 telles 48 
qu'elles permettent d'ecrire un son pour lequel, sans le secours de ce 
dispositif, le style se fut trouve place sur un nceud de vibration de cette 

It serves to ascertain nodal lines in the membrane such that they 
permit the writing of a sound for which, without the assistance of this 
device, the stylus would have been placed on a node of vibration of this 

Une difficulte grave etait a vaincre pour reunir convenablement les 
ondes sonores sur la membrane. Les conduits sont d'autant plus 
impropres a conduire les voix qu'ils vibrent plus facilement. 49 Dans un 
tel conduit 50 une notable partie 31 de la vibration de fluide se transforme 
par voie de communication en vibration de solide 3 " et perd ainsi 
beaucoup de sa force vive initiale. Si meme le conduit est un peu 
long, la membrane peut demeurer presque insensible a un son 
d'intensite mediocre. J'ai done du m'arreter aux conduits faits de 
matieres insonores (platre coule ou pates solidifiees) et leur donner 
une certaine epaisseur. 

Le mode de proceder pour obtenir des epreuves phonautographiques 54 
est tres-simple. On enroule en la tendant 53 une bande de papier sur le 
cylindre. On charge ce papier, qui tourne 3 avec une vitesse a peu pres 
uniforme, d'une couche egale, opaque, excessivement mince, de noir de 
fumee. Vers le centre de la membrane est place le style, dont 
l'extremite qui trace est tiree d'une plume de certains 

A serious difficulty had to be overcome in order suitably to gather 
together the sound waves on the membrane. Conduits are the more 
unsuitable for conducting voices the more easily they vibrate. In such a 
conduit a noticeable part of the vibration of the fluid is transformed by 
way of communication into vibration of the solid and thereby loses 
much of its initial lively force. This is to the extent that if the conduit is 
a little long, the membrane can remain almost insensible to a sound of 
middling intensity. I have therefore had to stick with conduits made of 
non-sonorous materials (cast plaster or solidified pastes) and to give 
them a certain thickness. 

The manner of proceeding to obtain phonautographic prints 
is very simple. A strip of paper is rolled up on the cylinder while being 
stretched. This paper, which turns with a nearly uniform speed, is 
charged with an even, opaque, exceedingly thin stratum of lamp- 
black. Towards the center of the membrane is placed the stylus, of 
which the end that does the tracing is taken from a feather of certain 

Savart. It is due to M. Kcenig. I conceived the solution to the difficulty of the nodes and antinodes entirely differently. See above, Document No. 6 [=Scott's 
communication to the Academie of July 15, 1861]." 

45 1878 inserts comma 

46 1867 omits this entire sentence and starts the following one: "Cette piece sert..." 1878 omits "I." 

47 1867 inserts comma 

48 1878 inserts comma 
1867 inserts paragraph break 
1867 inserts comma 
1867 has "partie notable" 
1867 inserts comma 
1 867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 sets off "pour obtenir des epreuves phonautographiques" with commas 
1867 sets off "en la tendant" 

56 1878 inserts "(U)," referring to an endnote on p. 73: "Lisez que Von tourne, e'est un simple lapsus: la main tourne la manivelle du cylindre et le papier avance 
avec une vitesse a peu pres uniforme que la main acquiert vite par la pratique." = "Read which is turned, this is a simple slip: the hand turns the crank of the 
cylinder and the paper advances at a nearly uniform speed which the hand acquires quickly through practice." 

1867 inserts paragraph break 


oiseaux. Cette pointe si tenue obeit a tous les mouvements simples 
{1859:11} ou complexes de la membrane. 39 {1878:56} Dans cet etat 60 
on presente le style au cylindre de maniere qu'il l'effleure tout en 
restant invariable dans la direction de sa hampe. 6 ' On fait entendre le 
son a l'ouverture de la cuve ou conduit, " la membrane entre en 
vibration, le style suit ses mouvements et son extremite trace sur le 
cylindre qui decrit une helice continue 63 les figures de la vibration du 
son produit. Elles en marquent le nombre et le timbre. 64 
Ces figures sont amples quand le son est intense, microscopiques s'il est 
tres-faible, ecartees quand il est grave, serrees s'il est aigu, d'un dessin 
regulier et franc si le timbre est pur, inegales et 
comme tremblees s'il est mauvais ou voile. 

birds. This point, so very thin, obeys all the simple or complex 
movements of the membrane. In this state 

the stylus is introduced to the cylinder in such a manner that it grazes it 
while remaining fixed in the direction of its shaft. One makes the sound 
heard at the opening of the tub or conduit, the membrane begins 
vibrating, the stylus follows its movements and its end traces upon the 
cylinder, which describes a continuous helix, the figures of the vibration 
of the sound produced. They show the number and the timbre thereof. 
These figures are large when the sound is intense, microscopic if it is 
very weak, spread out if it is low, squeezed together if it is high, of a 
regular and straightforward pattern if the timbre is pure, uneven and 
somewhat shaky if it is bad or muted. 

Voici maintenant la serie d' experiences interessantes pour les 
physiciens, les physiologistes, les facteurs d'instruments, les amateurs 
des sciences, qu'on peut deja executer avec l'appareil 
construit tel qu'il est figure dans le present certificat: 66 

Here now is the series of experiments of interest to 

physicists, physiologists, instrument makers, lovers 

of the sciences, which can already be carried out with the apparatus 

built as it is represented in the present certificate: 

{1867:361} 1° Ecrire 7 le mouvement vibratoire d'un solide quelconque 
pour servir de terme de comparaison avec les mouvements d'un fluide; 
compter le nombre de vibrations executees par ce solide dans 1' unite de 
temps au moyen du chronometre pointeur. 

1 . To write the vibratory movement of any solid 

to be used as a term of comparison with the movements 

of a fluid; to count the number of vibrations carried out by the solid 

in a unit of time by means of the marking chronometer. 

2° Un diapason ayant, par le moyen de 1' experience precedente, ete 

2. A tuning fork having, by means of the preceding experiment, been 

58 1867 inserts paragraph break 
39 1867 inserts paragraph break 
6(1 1867 inserts comma 

61 1867 inserts paragraph break 

62 1878 has semicolon 

63 1878 sets "qui decrit une helice continue" between commas 

64 1867 inserts paragraph break 

65 1878 inserts "(V)," referring to an endnote on p. 73: "Ceci n'est qu'une generalite vague a l'usage des personnes etrangeres a la science. L'etude des figures 
fournies par les accords montre qu'il existe une science exacte des diagrammes produits par la combinaison d'un ou plusieurs sons. Ces diagrammes 
mathematiques sont connus de toutes les personnes versees dans les sciences physiques." = "This is only a vague general observation for persons unfamiliar with 
science. The study of the figures furnished by chords shows that there is an exact science to the diagrams produced by the combination of one or more sounds. 
These mathematical diagrams are known to all persons versed in the physical sciences." 

66 1867 omits "construit tel qu'il est figure dans le present certificat"; 1878 has period 

67 1867 and 1878 have "Ecrire" 

68 1867 has semicolon 


etalonne a un nombre determine de vibrations dans l'unite de temps 
(500 ou 1000 69 par exemple), compter, en les faisant ecrire 
simultanement, le nombre des vibrations accomplies par tout agent 
apte a 71 vibrer (solide ou fluide) dans un espace de temps aussi court 
que Ton voudra (quelques milliemes de seconde). " Exemple: 
compter et mesurer les phases diverses d'un bruit et les intervalles de 
temps compris entre des phenomenes sonores rapides et successifs; 
eprouver la sonorite relative des metaux, des alliages, des bois, etc. 74 

calibrated to a determined number of vibrations in a unit of time 
(500 or 1000 for example), to count, by causing them to write 
simultaneously, the number of vibrations achieved by any agent 
capable of vibrating (solid or fluid) in a space of time as short 
as one might wish (a few thousandths of a second). Example: 
to count and measure the various phases of a noise and the intervals of 
time contained between rapid and successive sound phenomena; 
to test the relative sonority of metals, alloys, wood, etc. 

3° Ecrire 75 les vibrations produites dans une membrane par un ou 
plusieurs tuyaux sonnant simultanement, en compter le nombre, en 
montrer les phases; obtenir la figure ou diagramme acoustique de 
chacun des accords et des dissonances; ecrire de meme le chant 
d'instruments a vent quelconques; 77 montrer le timbre propre de ces 
instruments; ecrire le mouvement compose resultant des sons de deux 
ou de plusieurs instruments jouant simultanement. 

3. To write the vibrations produced in a membrane by one or 

more pipes sounding simultaneously, to count the number thereof, to 

show the phases thereof; to obtain the acoustic figure or diagram of 

each chord and dissonance; to write likewise the song 

of any wind instrument; to show the characteristic timbre of these 

instruments; to write the composite movement resulting from the 

sounds of two or more instruments playing simultaneously. 

4° Ecrire le chant d'une voix, en mesurer l'etendue par le 
chrono{1878:57}metre pointeur ou le diapason etalon-pointeur; 82 ecrire 
la gamme d'un chanteur, en mesurer la justesse par le diapason- 
pointeur; 84 en montrer la purete ou l'isochronisme des vibrations, ainsi 
que le timbre; ecrire une melodie et la transcrire a l'aide du 
diapason-pointeur; ecrire le chant simultane de deux voix 
et en montrer 1' accord ou le disaccord. 83 

1867 has "500 a 1000" followed by comma 

1867 has "de" 

1867 substitutes "capable de" 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 capitalizes "Compter" 

1878 inserts semicolon 

1867 and 1878 have "Ecrire" 

1867 has semicolon 

1867 has comma 

1867 has comma 

1878 omits "de" 

1867 has semicolon 

1867 and 1878 have "Ecrire" 

Not hyphenated in 1878 

1878 has semicolon 

Not hyphenated in 1878; 1867 has comma 

1867 has semicolon 

4. To write the song of a voice, to measure the extent thereof with the 
marking chronometer or the calibrated marking tuning fork; to write 
the scale of a singer, to measure the accuracy thereof with the marking 
tuning fork; to show the purity or isochronism of the vibrations thereof, 
as well as the timbre; to write a melody and transcribe it with the aid of 
the marking tuning fork; to write the simultaneous song of two voices 
and to show the harmony or discord thereof. 


5° Etudier acoustiquement les mouvements physiologiques ou 
pathologiques de l'appareil vocal et de ses parties pendant les 
differentes emissions de son, le cri, etc.; 87 marquer le 
timbre propre a une voix donnee; 

5. To study acoustically the physiological or pathological 
movements of the vocal apparatus and of its parts during the 
various emissions of sound, the shout, etc.; to mark down the 
characteristic timbre of a given voice; 

6° Etudier la voix articulee, la declamation (voir aux planches 
annexees une premiere application a l'ecriture ordinaire); 89 montrer les 
diagrammes syllabiques. 

6. To study the articulate voice, the declamation (see in the appended 
plates a first application to ordinary writing); to show 
syllabic diagrams. 

7° Inscrire par la reunion du deuxieme moyen (le style 
flexible) et du troisieme (la fixation) les mouvements du pendule, du 
toton ou toupie, de l'aiguille aimantee, le mode de locomotion 
d'un insecte, etc. 

7. To inscribe by the combination of the second method (the flexible 
stylus) and the third (the fixing) the movements of the pendulum, of the 
teetotum or top, of the magnetized needle, the manner of locomotion 
of an insect, etc. 

{1859:12} Enfin, a l'aide d'ajustements qui seront ulterieurement 
figures et de modifications a l'appareil ci-dessous decrit: 91 

Finally, with the aid of adjustments that will be represented later 
and modifications to the apparatus described below: 

Ecrire, " au moyen d'un conduit acoustique de plusieurs centaines de 
metres de longueur des sons ou des signaux produits a des distances 
plus ou moins etendues; 

Ecrire, sans le secours de conduit, des signaux produits sous une eau 
tranquille a des stations eloignees de plusieurs kilometres. 

To write, by means of an acoustic conduit several hundred 
meters in length, sounds or signals produced at distances 
more or less extensive; 

To write, without the aid of a conduit, signals produced under still water 
at stations several kilometers away. 

1867 and 1878 have "Etudier" 

1867 omits semicolon 

1867 and 1878 have "Etudier" 

1867 omits section in parentheses 

1867 and 1878 have semicolon 

1867 omits this sentence 

1878 has "Ecrire"; 1867 begins "8° Ecrire au moyen. 

1878 inserts comma 

1878 has period 

1878 has "Ecrire"; 1867 begins "9° Ecrire...." 

1867 has "conduits" 


Description de Vappareil phonautographique et des manipulations 
reposant sur le brevet du 25 Mars 1857. 

1° Le cylindre et son mouvement. — L'axe du cylindre est en fer. 
L'une de ses extremites est une helice chariotee en acier. * L'ecrou 
et le coussinet sont en cuivre. ' ° 3 Une disposition de l'ecrou permet de 
restituer 104 la liberte au cylindre pendant l'operation du noircissage. 
Le bati qui le supporte est en fonte et fixe a vis dans le plateau de chene 
qui sert de base a tout l'appareil. Le pas de l'helice 
permet de faire ecrire le chronometre ou le diapason dans 
l'interligne. Le cylindre est mu a la main par une manivelle, 
disposition qui donne le moyen de ralentir ou d'accelerer 
le mouvement suivant 106 le degre de rapidite du trace 
a obtenir. 

Description of the phonauto graphic apparatus and manipulations 
based on the patent of 25 March 1857. 

1. The cylinder and its movement. — The axle of the cylinder is of iron. 

One of its ends is a lathed helix of steel. The nut 

and bearing are of copper. An arrangement of the nut permits the 

restoration of freedom to the cylinder during the blackening operation. 

The frame that supports it is of cast iron and screwed to the oak board 

that serves as a base for the whole apparatus. The thread of the helix 

allows for having the chronometer or tuning fork write in the interline 

space. The cylinder is moved by hand with a crank, 

an arrangement that provides the means of slowing down or speeding 

up the movement according to the degree of speed of the trace 

to be obtained. 

2° Le chronometre et son support. — Le chronometre pointeur 
em{1878:58}ploye dans l'appareil et destine a etalonner un son de 
solide ou de fluide est celui imagine par M. Redier. 108 Une pointe 
preparee pour cet office porte un style souple qui est mis en contact 
avec le cylindre dans l'entreligne du trace phonautographique. 109 
Un echappement le releve pendant une duree de 6 secondes. On 
obtient ainsi sur chaque bande des series de 6 * secondes; le sixieme de 
chacune est le nombre de vibrations executees en une seconde de temps 

2. The chronometer and its support. — The marking chronometer 
employed in the apparatus and intended to calibrate a sound of 
a solid or fluid is the one devised by Mr. Redier. A point 
prepared for this purpose carries a flexible stylus which is put in contact 
with the cylinder in the interline space of the phonautographic trace. 
An escapement releases it for a duration of 6 seconds. Therefore series 
of 6 seconds are obtained on each strip; the sixth of each one is the 
number of vibrations carried out in a second of time 

1878 does not capitalize "mars" 

1867 omits this heading 

1867 has this as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 and 1878 have "extremites" 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 substitutes "rendre" 

1867 and 1878 have "mu" 

1878 has "mouvement, selon le degre" 

1867 has "2° Chronometre et son support." as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 and 1878 spell out "six" 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 and 1878 spell out "six" 


(Voir la planche 3)." 3 Le support du chronometre possede tous les 
mouvements et glisse librement en tous sens sur le plateau qui porte 

On comprendra que tout autre chronometre pointeur ou tout autre 
support pourrait etre employe" 4 et que c'est le pointage me me du temps 
sur le cylindre au moyen d'un chronometre qui fait l'objet de la 
presente addition. 

3° Le diapason pointeur et son support. — Ce diapason pointeur, 
etalonne a un nombre de vibrations multiple de 500, 1000 116 par 
exemple, remplit le meme office que le chronometre. Seulement au 
lieu de compter les secondes, ce sont les milliemes de seconde qu'il 
indique en entreligne sur le cylindre. II fournit ainsi le moyen de 
compter les bruits, les sons ou les signaux d'une extreme brievete. II 
devra etre tenu a une distance de la membrane suffisante pour qu'elle ne 
soit par influencee par ses vibrations. {1867:362} Ce diapason est 
monte dans un support analogue a celui du chronometre. 

(See plate 3). The support of the chronometer possesses all 
movements and slides freely in all directions on the board that carries 
the apparatus. 

It will be understood that any other marking chronometer or any other 
support could be employed and that it is the very marking of time 
on the cylinder by means of a chronometer that is the subject of the 
present addition. 

3. The marking tuning fork and its support. — This marking tuning fork, 
calibrated to a number of vibrations [that is a] multiple of 500, 1000 for 
example, fulfills the same purpose as the chronometer. Only instead of 
counting seconds, it is thousandths of a second that it indicates in the 
interline space on the cylinder. It also furnishes the means of 
counting noises, sounds, or signals of extreme brevity. It 
should be kept at a sufficient distance from the membrane that the latter 
might not be influenced by its vibrations. This tuning fork is 
mounted in a support analogous to that of the chronometer. 

4° La membrane et son appareil de tension. — La matiere de la 
membrane peut changer avec le but qu'on se propose. On emploie 
egalement bien la baudruche, le caoutchouc souffle, la vessie, un velin 
animal, ou meme le collodion. " II est souvent utile, pour leur donner 
de la souplesse et remedier a l'hygroscopicite 121 d'enduire les 
membranes de glycerine. "" L'anneau prehenseur de la membrane, 
quej'appelle aujourd'hui tenseur, et le directeur du style que j'appelle 
subdiviseur de la membrane, different en quelques points de ce qui est 
figure dans le brevet du 25 Mars 1857. I24 

4. The membrane and its stretching apparatus. — The material of the 
membrane may vary with the goal being proposed. Goldbeater's skin, 
blown rubber, bladder, an animal vellum, or even collodion can be 
employed equally well. It is often useful to treat the membranes with 
glycerine in order to give them flexibility and to remedy the 
hygroscopicity. The gripper ring of the membrane, 
which I today call a stretcher, and the stylus director which I call 
a subdivider of the membrane, differ in some points from that which is 
shown in the patent of 25 March 1857. 

113 1867 

114 1867 

115 1867 

116 1867 

117 1867 

118 1867 

119 1867 

120 1867 

121 1867 

122 1867 

123 1878 

124 1867 

omits text in parentheses; 1878 has only "(voir la planche)." 

and 1878 insert comma 

has this as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash, "diapason-pointeur" hyphenated 

has "500 a 1,000" followed by a comma; 1878 text inserts comma 

and 1878 insert comma 

has this as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash 

inserts paragraph break 

inserts paragraph break 

and 1878 insert comma 

inserts paragraph break 

omits comma 

omits "du 25 Mars 1857" 


{1859:13} La membrane est amenee a l'etat de tension convenable au 
moyen de deux anneaux sur l'un desquels elle est fixee. ' Les deux 
anneaux se rapprochent ou s'ecartent au moyen de vis comme dans les 
timbales. " Le subdiviseur de la membrane est fixe a l'anneau 
inferieur. 127 II se compose {1878:59} d'une petite planchette mobile a 
rainure qui recoit a l'un de ses bouts une vis destinee a s'enfoncer plus 
ou moins dans la membrane. 128 Cette planchette et son support sont 
fixes dans la position requise au moyen de vis. 

L'anneau qui porte la membrane tourne a frottement sur un tuyau court 
et coude. " Ce dernier ajustement est destine a donner a la membrane 
une inclinaison convenable sur l'axe du tuyau court. Ce tuyau glisse 
lui-meme a frottement dans 1' orifice de la cuve qui fait face au 
cylindre. On obtient au moyen de ces dispositions toutes les 
directions et les differentes approches du style sans deplacement de la 

The membrane is brought to a state of suitable tension by 
means of two rings, to one of which it is fixed. The two 
rings are drawn closer or moved apart by means of a screw as in 
kettledrums. The subdivider of the membrane is fixed to the lower 
ring. It is composed of a little movable slat with a groove that 
receives at one of its ends a screw intended to be driven more or less 
into the membrane. This plank and its support are fixed in the required 
position by means of screws. 

The ring that carries the membrane turns with friction on a tube short 
and bent. This last adjustment is intended to give to the membrane 
a suitable inclination on the axis of the short tube. This tube itself 
slides with friction in the opening of the tub which faces the 
cylinder. By means of these arrangements all directions and 
different approaches of the stylus can be obtained without shifting the 

5° Le style souple. — Le style figure dans le dessin est forme de 
l'extremite de la barbule d'une plume, collee sur une hampe 
inelastique 135 prise dans la portion mediane d'un organe flexible qu'on 
trouve chez certains crustaces, les grosses crevettes par exemple. 
On comprend que l'emploi de ces deux substances particulieres n'est 

5. The flexible stylus. — The stylus shown in the drawing is formed of 

the end of the barbule of a feather, glued to an inelastic shaft 

taken from the middle portion of a flexible organ which may 

be found in certain crustaceans, large shrimp for example. 

It is understood that the use of these two particular substances is not 


1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 has "inferieur; il" 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 has this as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash 

1867 omits "figure dans le dessin" 

1878 inserts "(X)," referring to an endnote on p. 73: "J'ai fait une longue suite d'essais de 1853 a 1858 sur les substances propres a former le style souple. J'ai 
essaye presque toutes les barbules des grandes plumes d'aile des gros volatiles. Mais la petite tige empruntee a la grosse crevette devient cassante par la 
secheresse et il m'a fallu y renoncer depuis. Je la deconseille formellement." = "I made a long succession of tests from 1853 to 1858 of substances suitable for 
forming the flexible stylus. I tested nearly all barbules of large wing feathers from the large birds. But the small spine borrowed from the large shrimp becomes 
brittle through drying out and it has since been necessary for me to abandon it. I formally advise against it." 

135 1867 substitutes "non elastique" 

136 1867 inserts comma 

137 1867 inserts paragraph break 


pas de rigueur et que j'ai du breveter 138 les substances d'origine 
vegetale ou animale jouissant des memes proprietes. La division du 
style en deux parties de nature differente m'a paru tres importante 140 
pour le bon succes des operations, et j'y insiste dans ce 
certificat. ' 4 ' 

essential and that I had to patent substances of vegetable and animal 

origin displaying the same properties. The division of the 

stylus into two parts of different nature seemed very important to me 

for the good success of the operations, and I insist thereupon in this 


6° La cuve et son support. — 142 Cette cuve doit etre, comme je l'ai 
explique, d'une matiere aussi insonore que possible et d'une certaine 
epaisseur. Ses formes, ainsi que je l'ai dit dans le brevet, peuvent 
etre variees 145 afin de s'approprier au but special qu'on se propose. 14 
Ainsi elle peut etre une simple cupule annexee au tuyau court de la 
membrane pour etudier par exemple 147 le timbre de la voix et 
1' articulation; un conduit modele sur la forme du conduit auditif externe 
de l'oreille 148 pour des etudes particulierementphysiologiques; un vaste 
cornet acoustique, un paraboloide de revolution, etc. 149 La cuve figuree 
dans le dessin 150 de l'appareil construit est une portion d'ellipsoide de 
revolution coulee en platre stucque. 151 L'orifice qui communique 
avec la membrane occupe un des foyers de l'ellipsoide et 
l'agent producteur du son est vers l'autre foyer situe en avant de 
la cuve et a l'air libre, ce qui offre l'avantage de ne pas alterer le 
timbre comme dans le cas ou le son est produit dans la cuve 
meme. * Cette cuve a paru tres convenable 3 en ce sens qu'elle 
{1878:60} s'adapte a un grande nombre d'experiences et permet 

6. The tub and its support. — As I have explained, this tub 

must be of a material as non-sonorous as possible and of a certain 

thickness. Just as I said in the patent, its forms may 

be varied to adapt it to the particular goal being proposed. 

Thus it may be a simple cup joined to the short tube of the 

membrane in order to study for example the timbre of the voice and 

articulation; a conduit modeled on the form of the outer auditory canal 

of the ear for specifically physiological studies; an immense acoustic 

trumpet, a paraboloid of revolution, etc. The tub shown 

in the drawing of the built apparatus is a portion of an ellipsoid of 

revolution cast of stuccoed plaster. The opening that communicates 

with the membrane occupies one of the foci of the ellipsoid and 

the agent producing the sound is near the other focus situated in front of 

the tub and in the open air, which offers the advantage that the timbre is 

not altered as in the case where the sound is produced within the tub 

itself. This tub appeared very suitable in the sense that it 

is adapted to a great number of experiments and allows 

" 1867 substitutes "indiquer" 
l3 ' 1867 inserts paragraph break 

140 1867 hyphenates "tres-importante" 

141 1878 inserts "(Y)," referring to an endnote on p. 73: "Je veux dire qu'il est important que la partie du style qui porte a son extremite la barbule soit ferme et 
inelastique sans cesser d'etre legere, que la partie qui ecrit, l'extremite libre de la barbule, soit exactement de la longueur que Ton veut obtenir pour ses plus 
grands signes d'ecriture." = "I want to say that it is important for the part of the stylus which carries the barbule at its end to be firm and inelastic without ceasing 
to be light, for the part which writes, the free end of the barbule, to be of exactly the length which it is desired to obtain for one's larger signs of writing." 

1867 has "Cuve et son support." as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 has "Ces formes" = "These forms" 

1867 inserts comma 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 sets off "par exemple" with commas 

1867 inserts comma 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 omits "figuree dans le dessin" 

1867 inserts paragraph break 

1867 inserts paragraph break 




de presenter plusieurs instruments devant son entree. 154 Je rappellerai 
neanmoins que j'ai brevete 3 tout conduit a l'extremite duquel on peut 
placer une membrane armee d'un style. 

Le support de la cuve est coule en fonte; il se compose d'une sorte de 
cremaillere oblique qui permet d'elever la cuve ou de la descendre a 
volonte; 156 la branche anterieure du support porte une vis calante au 
moyen de laquelle on eleve 1' orifice de la cuve portant la membrane a la 
hauteur requise. 

7° La lampe fumeuse et le noir special. — J'emploie une lampe sans 
courant d'air; elle porte une grande et large meche plate. 138 Le noir de 
lampe est obtenu par un melange de deux tiers environ d'huile a bruler 
non epuree, 13 ' et d'un tiers d'huile de resine de deuxieme distillation. 
II faut veiller au bon etat de la meche et remuer le 
melange a chaque operation, car l'huile de resine, plus lourde que 


l'huile ordinaire, se precipite au fond. Pour noircir " on {1859:14} 
fait tourner le cylindre et Ton promene sa lampe allumee a 7 ou 8 
centimetres au-dessous du papier tendu. 

{1867:363} 8° La fixation des epreuves. — ' Elle s'obtient par un 
trempage fait avec precaution dans un premier bain d'alcool pur; 
l'epreuve, ayant recu ce commencement de fixation et etant sechee, est 
ensuite enduite au moyen de la solution d'une resine dans l'alcool. 164 
La sandaraque reussit bien comme fixatif et remplace avec avantage 

several instruments to be introduced in front of its opening. I will 
nevertheless recall that I patented any conduit at the end of which a 
membrane fitted with a stylus is placed. 

The support of the tub is of cast iron; it is composed of a sort of 
oblique rack which allows the tub to be raised or lowered 
at will; the front leg of the support carries a foot screw by means of 
which the opening of the tub carrying the membrane is raised to the 
required height. 

7. The smoky lamp and the special blacking. — I employ a lamp without 
a current of air; it bears a flat wick, large and broad. The lamp- 
black is obtained by a mixture of around two thirds unrefined 

lamp oil to one third oil of resin of the second distillation. 

It is necessary to attend to the good state of the wick and to stir the 

mixture at every operation because the oil of resin, being heavier than 

the ordinary oil, precipitates to the bottom. For blackening, the cylinder 

is made to turn and its lit lamp is conducted to 7 or 8 

centimeters below the stretched paper. 

8. The fixing of the prints. — It is obtained by a 
wetting done with care in a first bath of pure alcohol; 

the print, having received this start of fixing and being dried, is 
then coated by means of the solution of a resin in alcohol. 
Sandarach succeeds well as a fixative and replaces with advantage 

153 1867 

154 1867 

155 1867 

156 1867 

157 1867 

158 1867 

159 1867 

160 1867 

161 1867 

162 1867 

163 1867 

164 1867 

hyphenates "tres-convenable" and inserts comma 

inserts paragraph break 

has "Le brevet comprend, neanmoins, tout..." = "The patent includes, nevertheless, any. 

begins new sentence 

has this as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash 

inserts paragraph break 

and 1878 omit comma 

inserts paragraph break 

inserts paragraph break 

inserts comma 

has "Fixation des epreuves." as a centered heading, not in italics, no m-dash 

inserts paragraph break 


l'eau albumineuse indiquee dans le brevet. 165 {1867 and 1878 end} 


Planche 1" annexee a ma demande du 29 juillet 1859 d'un certificat 
d'addition a mon brevet d'invention delivre le 25 mars 1857 sous le n° 
31470 pour un precede d'ecriture et de dessin par le son (acoustique). 

Legende de l'appareil phonautographe, (represente moins le 
chronometre pointeur, le diapason etalon la lampe et la 

C, cuve acoustique destinee principalement aux experiences sur les 
tuyaux; son interieur est une portion d'ellipsoide de revolution; l'un des 
foyers est place vers l'orifice du porte-membrane, l'autre au 
devant de la cuve. 

the albuminous water indicated in the patent. 

1 st Plate appended to my request of 29 July 1859 for a certificate of 
addition to my patent of invention issued 25 March 1857 under the 
number 31470 for a process of writing and drawing by sound (acoustic). 

Legend for the phonautograph apparatus, (represented minus the 
marking chronometer, the calibrated tuning fork, the lamp, and the 

C, acoustic tub intended principally for experiments on 
pipes; its interior is a portion of an ellipsoid of revolution; one of the 
foci is placed near the opening of the membrane carrier, the other at the 
front of the tub. 

M, porte-membrane. Cette piece est representee en coupe et de 
grandeur naturelle en M'. m est la membrane, a une des trois vis qui 

M, membrane carrier. This piece is represented in cross section and in 
natural size in M'. m is the membrane, with one of the three screws that 

1867 omits "indiquee dans le brevet"; 1878 text inserts "(Z)," referring to an endnote on p. 73: "En lisant avec attention le certificat d'addition qui precede, on 
reconnait facilement qu'il est une specialisation des moyens generaux indiques dans le brevet primitif avec reserve des applications denominees en 1857; il ne 
precise et ne determine parfaitement que les precedes applicables aux demonstrations des principes du mouvement des membranes dans les cours de physique. 

"Au surplus, c'est une bonne lecon de phonautographie elementaire. Malheureusement, la partie relative a la transmission au style des mouvements de 
solides, si importants dans l'histoire de la parole, a ete si peu etudiee, que les changements radicaux a apporter sous ce rapport a l'appareil, tel que M. Kcenig a 
voulu seulement l'executer, necessitent la prise d'un nouveau brevet. (Nov. 1861)." = 

"In attentively reading the preceding certificate of addition, it is easily recognized that it is a specialization of the general methods indicated in the 
primitive patent with reservation of the applications designated in 1857; it perfectly specifies and determines only the processes applicable to demonstrations of 
the principles of the movement of membranes in physics courses. 

"Moreover, it is a good lesson in elementary phonautography. Unfortunately, the part relating to the transmission to the stylus of the movements of 
solids, so important in the history of speech, has been so little studied that the radical changes to be made to the apparatus in this respect, such as M. Kcenig only 
wanted to carry out, require the obtaining of a new patent. (Nov. 1861)." 

The 1878 text concludes with this parenthetical insertion: "(A ce brevet est annexee la planche 3 representant l'etalonnage d'un son au moyen du 
chronometre et une photographie representant l'appareil construit par M. Rudolph Kcenig et figure dans la XI e edition du Traite elementaire de physique de M. 
Garot, Paris, 1864,, p. 224, et une autre planche representant l'ajustement de la membrane et de ses accessoires. Je dois, dans ce certificat d'addition, 
beaucoup au concours de M. Kcenig en ce qui concerne l'emploi du chronometre et de l'adaptation du diapason pointeur. Nous eussions prefere l'emploi d'un 
mouvement d'horlogerie parfaitement uniforme, mais cela eflt presque double le prix de l'appareil phonautographe.)" = "(To this patent is appended plate 3 
representing the calibration of a sound by means of the chronometer and a photograph representing the apparatus built by M. Rudolph Kcenig and illustrated in 
the 1 1 th edition of the Elementary Treatise on Physics by M. Garot, Paris, 1864,, p. 224; and another plate representing the adjustment of the membrane 
and its accessories. I owe much, in this certificate of addition, to the aid of M. Kcenig concerning the use of the chronometer and the adaptation of the marking 
tuning fork. We would have preferred the use of a perfectly uniform clockwork movement, but that would have nearly doubled the price of the phonautograph 


operent la tension par le rapprochement des anneaux a et a' . S est le 
subdiviseur de la membrane, il glisse dans la planchette a rainure r 
mobile elle-meme sur le support K. 

T, support a cremaillere de la cuve; la vis calante V permet l'ajustement 
delicat du style; les mouvements varies de la piece M permettent toutes 
les directions de la membrane et les changements d'azimut du style. 

effect the stretching by bringing rings a and a^ closer together. S is the 
subdivider of the membrane, it slides in the slat with groove r, itself 
movable on support K. 

T, support with rack for the tub; the foot screw V permits the delicate 
adjustment of the stylus; the varied movements of part M allow for all 
directions of the membrane and changes of the azimuth of the stylus. 

Cy est le cylindre sur lequel on colle legerement par ses extremites la 
bande de papier destinee a recevoir l'epreuve. Le moteur, qui 
s' applique en d. 

Cy is the cylinder onto which the strip of paper intended to receive the 
print is glued lightly by its ends. The motor, which 
is applied in d. 


Planche 2 annexee a ma demande du 29 juillet 1859 d'un certificat 
d'addition a mon brevet d'invention delivre le 25 mars 1857 sous le n° 
31470 pour un precede d'ecriture et de dessin par le son (acoustique). 

Application de la notation phonautographique a la transcription de la 

Plate 2 appended to my request of 29 July 1859 for a certificate of 
addition to my patent of invention issued 25 March 1857 under the 
number 31470 for a process of writing and drawing by sound (acoustic). 

Application of phonauto graphic notation to the transcription of 

Pour noter exactement la declamation il ne suffit pas de marquer au- 
dessus ou au-dessous de la ligne les longues et les breves, les forte et les 
piano, les elevations ou les abaissements du ton, les aspirations, la 
respiration, et les pauses et les explosions, il est necessaire de 
representer clairement et facilement le quantum ou la valeur 
mathematique de chacune de ces modifications. 

For noting declamation exactly it does not suffice to mark down 
above or below the line the longs and the shorts, the fortes and the 
pianos, the raisings and lowerings of tone, the inhalations, the 
breathing, and the pauses and the explosions; it is necessary to 
represent clearly and easily the quantum or mathematical 
value of each of these modifications. 

La trace phonautographique fournit des a present, sans qu'on ait a se 
preoccuper de 1' articulation, un moyen tres-simple de figurer 
objectivement la diction de l'artiste. Ce trace est une sorte de reptile 
dont les anneaux suivent toutes les modulations ou inflexions du 
discours. II suffit pour traduire de visu , sauf 1' articulation, de faire les 
remarques suivantes: la distance horizontale du pied des courbes 
indique le ton ou tonalite; la hauteur de ces memes courbes l'intensite 
de la voix; le detail des courbes le timbre; l'absence des courbes les 
pauses ou les silences. Les quelques expressions naturelles ci-contre 
suffisent pour 1' intelligence de cette page. 

The phonautographic trace furnishes at present, without one having to 
be occupied with articulation, a very simple means of objectively 
representing the artist's diction. This trace is a kind of reptile, the coils 
of which follow all the modulations or inflections of discourse. It 
suffices for translating by sight, except for the articulation, to make the 
following remarks: the horizontal distance of the foot of the curves 
indicates the tone or tonality; the height of the same curves the intensity 
of the voice; the detail of the curves the timbre; the absence of curves 
the pauses or silences. The few natural expressions opposite 
suffice for understanding this page. 


represente la voix grave 
la voix aigue 

une voix aigue descendant au grave 
une voix grave montant a l'aigu 
une voix intense 
une voix moyenne 
une voix faible 
le tremolo sur la lettre r 
la cadence sur une voyelle 
1' explosion de la voix 

S'il faut qu'a ce rival Hedelmone infidele 
Ait remis ce bandeau! Dans leur rage cruelle 
Nos lions du desert, sous leur antre brulant, 
Dechirent quelquefois le voyageur tremblant — 
II vaudrait mieux pour lui que leur faim devorante 
Dispersat les lambeaux de sa chair palpitante 
Que de tomber vivant dans mes terribles mains! 

represents the deep voice 

the high-pitched voice 

a high-pitched voice descending to a deep one 

a deep voice rising to the high-pitched one 

an intense voice 

an average voice 

a weak voice 

the tremolo on the letter r 

the cadence on a vowel 

the outburst of the voice 

So it must be that to this rival faithless Hedelmone 
Gave this diadem ! In their cruel rage, 
Our lions of the desert, beneath their burning lair, 
sometimes tear apart the trembling traveler — 
It would be better for him for their devouring 
hunger to scatter the scraps of his palpitating flesh 
than to fall alive into my terrible hands ! 


[margin, in ink] Planche 3, representant l'etalonnage d'un son au 
moyen du chronometre, annexee a ma demande du 29 juillet 1859 
d'un certificat d'addition a mon brevet d'invention delivre le 25 mars 
1857 sous le n° 31470 pour un precede d'ecriture et de dessin 
par le son (acoustique). 

[along trace, numbers counting to 2600 in increments of 100] 

Plate 3, representing the calibration of a sound by means of the 
chronometer, appended to my request of 29 July 1859 for a 
certificate of addition to my patent of invention issued 25 March 
1857 under the number 31470 for a process of writing and drawing 
by sound (acoustic). 


Fixation et Transcription du Chant 

An album of Scott phonauto grams is preserved in Ms 2935 in the papers of Victor Regnault in the library of the Institut de France, with 
inscriptions as transcribed below. There is no extended written document attached to this group of papers. 

{[1]} fixation et transcription du chant 
tonalite de la parole 

hommage a M. le professeur Victor Regnault 
son devoue et reconnaissant serviteur et eleve 
Leon Scott 

fixation and transcription of song 
tonality of speech 

compliments to Professor Victor Regnault 
his devoted and grateful servant and student 
Leon Scott 


{along trace, in ink] diapason de 500 vibr. simpl. 
harmoniques d'un son de voix 

[side, in ink] le ton fondamental avec harm. 

[side, in ink] diapason de 500 v. s. ecriv. simultan. 
son fondament. avec harmoniques. 

hommage a M. le professeur Regnault 
Leon Scott 
28 mars 1860 

tuning fork of 500 simpl[e] vibr[ations] 
harmonics of a sound of voice 

fundamental tone with harm[onics] 
tuning fork 

tuning fork of 500 s[imple] v[ibrations] writ[ing] simultan[eously] 
fundamental ] sound with harmonics. 

compliments to Professor Regnault 
Leon Scott 
28 March 1860 


[bottom] gamme de voix avec diapason de 500 vibrations simples en 



scale of the voice with tuning fork of 500 simple vibrations in 

interlinear space 

18 April (#2) 


[bottom] au clair de la lune, avec diapason ecrivant simultanement et 

directement en entreligne 


au clair de la lune, with tuning fork writing simultaneously and 

directly in interlinear space 

17 April 1860 


[bottom] la meme experience (au clair de la lune) avec le timbre 
indique I inclinaison naturelle du tympan; fenetre ovale; caoutchouc 
20 avril L Stt 

the same experiment (au clair de la lune) with the timbre 

shown I natural inclination of tympanum; oval window; caoutchouc 

20 April LS[co]tt 



[bottom] d' accord parfait 
18 avril (bis) 

of a tonic chord 
18 April (#2) 


[bottom] effet acoustique de la declamation avec diapason simultane 
pour montrer les flexions de 1' intonation 

s'il faut qu'a ce rival hedelmone infidele 
Ait remis ce bandeau I dans leur rage cruelle 
Nos lions du desert sous leur antre brulant — 
Leon Scott 
17 avril 1860 

acoustic effect of declamation with simultaneous tuning fork 
to show the inflections of the intonation 

so it must be that to this rival faithless hedelmone 

Gave this diadem I in their cruel rage 

Our lions of the desert under their burning lair — 

Leon Scott 

17 April 1860 


[bottom] La meme declamation pour montrer quelques-un des 


18 avril (bis) 

The same declamation to show some of the 


18 April (#2) 


[bottom] epellation du mot rira avec 1' r grasseye 

pour montrer comment la consonne s'appuie sur la voyelle 

Leon Scott 

18 avril (bis) 

[along trace] re I i I ri I re I a I ra I rira I re I i I ri I re I a I ra I rira I re I i I 

ri I re I a I ra I rira 

spelling of the word rira ["will laugh"] with the r spoken gutturally 

to show how the consonant rests on the vowel 

Leon Scott 

18 April (#2) 

re I i I ri I re I a I ra I rira \re\i\ri\re\ a\ra\ rira \re\i\ 

ri I re I a I ra I rira 


[bottom] la meme (membrane enduite par le precede indique par M le 

professeur Regnault) 

19 avril (ter) 

[along trace] "[unlabeled syllable] I jour I ne I pa I plus I pur I ke I le I 

fon I de I mon I keur I Le I jour I ne I pa I [unlabeled syllable] " 

the same (membrane coated by the process indicated by 

Professor Regnault) 

19 April (#3) 

... I day I is I no I mor I pur I than I the I 

depth I of\ my I hart I The I day I is I no ... 


Inscription automatique des sons de l'air au moyen d'une oreille artificielle 

Scott deposited the following materials with the Academie des Sciences de I'lnstitut de France on 15 July 1861, simultaneously with his request 
that the sealed packet containing his "Principes de Phonautographie" should be opened to demonstrate his priority of invention. Three textual 
variants are reflected below: the manuscript in the Academie archives, assigned number 324 bis ("MS"), a print version in Scott's self-published 
book of 1878, Le probleme de la parole s'ecrivant elle-meme ("1878"), and the version published in volume 53 of the Comptes rendus 
hebdomadaires des seances de 1' Academie des sciences ("CR"). The part of MS that corresponds to the texts ofCR and MS is not in Scott's own 
handwriting and contains numerous corrected copying errors. (The script shares some similarities with that found on the paste d-in page of the 
"Fixation Graphique de la Voix" manuscript.) For this portion, the main text shown here follows CR. The part that is unique to MS is in Scott's 
own handwriting. An earlier version of this text and translation appears in First Sounds Working Paper 4 with a facsimile of MS. 

{CR:108; IH1H-.164]} 1 

PHYSIQUE APPLIQUEE. - Inscription automatique des sons de l'air au 
moyen d'une oreille artificielle; Note de M. E.-L. SCOTT. 

APPLIED PHYSICS. — Automatic inscription of the sounds of the air by 
means of an artificial ear; Note of Mr. E.-L. SCOTT. 

(Commissaires, 2 MM. Pouillet, Regnault, Bernard.) 3 

(Commissioners: Messrs. Pouillet, Regnault, Bernard.) 

{MS:1} «Appreciant, comme on le doit, 4 l'importance d'une 
communication a 1' Academie, je m'etais propose de ne lui soumettre 
que plus tard et apres les avoir tres-murement elaboreV les derniers 
resultats de la decouverte a laquelle je travaille depuis 1853. Mais 
j'apprends qu'un savant etranger, aide d'un constructeur d'appareils, 
vous a presente l'inscription automatique de mouvements vibratoires 
de l'un des appareils de l'oreille moyenne d'un chien fraichement 
decapite. 7 Me sera-t-il permis de faire observer que cette experience, 

"Appreciating, as one must, the importance of a 
communication to the Academie, I had intended to submit 
to it only later and after having very maturely worked out the final 
results of the discovery on which I have been working since 1 853. But 
I learn that a foreign scientist, aided by a manufacturer of apparatuses, 
has presented to you the automatic inscription of vibratory movements 
of one of the apparatuses of the middle ear of a freshly decapitated 
dog. It will be permitted me to point out that this experiment, 

1878 is headed "Piece n° 6. I Communication a I 'Academie des sciences en date du 15 juillet 1861. (Comptes rendus de l'Acad. des sc, t. liii, p. 108)." = 
"Document No. 6: Communication to the Academie des Sciences dated 15 July 1861. (Reports of the Acad, des Sc, Vol. LIII, p. 108)." 
* 1878 has colon 

3 MS is headed " Physique appliquee . — Inscription automatique des sons de l'air au moyen d'une oreille artificielle ." It is addessed "Monsieur le President," but 
this is crossed out in pencil, with "(comm MM Pouillet Regnault Bernard)" written in. 

4 MS omits comma 

3 MS has "ellabores" with the first L crossed out 

6 MS has "d'un" corrected to "de" 

7 MS has paragraph break 


ainsi que d'autres tentatives moins recentes auxquelles j'applaudis 
sincerement, reposent toutes sur l'idee mere a laquelle j'ai consacre 
tant de veilles et de sacrifices et dont le style flexible, 9 applique sur une 
membrane, dont je suis l'inventeur, demeure encore le moyen 
radical. 10 C'est afin qu'il ne puisse y avoir a ce sujet le moindre 
doute que je prie l'Academie" de vouloir bien proceder a 
l'ouverture du paquet 12 cachete que j'ai depose le 26 Janvier 1857 
au Secretariat de l'Academie. 

as well as other less recent attempts which I sincerely 

applauded, are all based on the mother-idea to which I devoted so many 

sleepless nights and sacrifices and of which the flexible stylus, applied 

to a membrane, of which I am the inventor, still remains the radical 

means. It is in order that there cannot be the slightest doubt on this 

subject that I ask the Academie to be so kind as to proceed to 

the opening of the sealed packet which I deposited on 26 January 1857 

with the Secretariat of the Academie. 

«En rappelant ici l'origine de cette decouverte qui reposait sur les 
travaux connus d'un des Membres de cette Academie, M. 
Duhamel, je ne saurais reconnaitre avec trop de gratitude le genereux 
appui qu'un de vos confreres, 14 M. Pouillet, a bien voulu accorder aux 
premiers pas d'un inventeur, sinon {CR:109} etranger a la science, du 
moins occupe de travaux qui l'empechaient de s'y livrer 
exclusivement. C'est encore un devoir {1878:65} pour moi de me 
souvenir qu'a ce premier soutien j'ai eu le bonheur d'en adjoindre plus 
tard un autre 15 non moins precieux, celui de M. Regnault, mon ancien 
maitre, qui a eu la bonte d'introduire et de 16 patroner au College de 
France mon premier appareil, et que c'est encore a lui que je dois 
les conseils qui me permettent aujourd'hui de soumettre a l'Academie 
l'appareil artificiel de la chaine des osselets, ainsi que les epreuves que 
j'en ai obtenues et dont voici le detail: 

«N° 1, figure theorique pour servir a 1' interpretation des planches 
suivantes; n° 2, divers mouvements inscrits automatiquement; n° 3, 
gamme de la voix 18 par la membrane du tympan fixee a son centre; 
le diapason ecrit" simultanement en entre-lignes; 20 n° 4, 21 gamme par la 
platine de Terrier, egalement avec diapason; n° 5, chant de 

"In pointing out here the origin of this discovery which was based on 

the known work of one of the members of this Academie, Mr. 

Duhamel, I cannot acknowledge with too much gratitude the generous 

support which one of your colleagues, M. Pouillet, has been pleased to 

grant the first steps of an inventor, if not ignorant of science, at 

least occupied by work that prevented him from devoting himself 

exclusively thereto. It is furthermore incumbent upon me 

to remember that to this first support I had the pleasure of later adding 

another no less precious, that of Mr. Regnault, my former 

master, who had the kindness to introduce and sponsor at the College de 

France my first apparatus; and that it is also to him that I owe the 

counsels that today allow me to submit to the Academie 

the artificial apparatus of the chain of the ossicles, as well as the prints 

which I obtained therefrom and of which the detailed account follows: 

"No. 1, theoretical figure to be used for interpreting the following 
plates; no. 2, various motions automatically inscribed; no. 3, 
scale of the voice by the membrane of the tympanum fixed at its center; 
the tuning fork writes simultaneously in interlinear spaces; no. 4, scale 
by the footplate of the stirrup, likewise with tuning fork; no. 5, song of 

MS has " moins recentes " here 
MS omits comma 

MS has paragraph break 

MS has "que je viens vous prier, Monsieur le President, de vouloir bien. 

MS has "papier" with "paquet" written over it 

1878 does not capitalize "membres" 

MS inserts " les plus distingues " = " most distinguished " 

MS has comma 

MS inserts "de" with a carat 

MS punctuates the series in this form: "suivantes. — N° 2. Divers " 

MS inserts " fixee " 

"which I shall ask you, Mr. President, to be so kind as to. 


la voix par la membrane du tympan fixee a son centre, egalement avec 
diapason {MS:2}; n° 6, chant de la voix ecrit par la platine de l'etrier 
artificiel depouille de sa membrane, avec diapason; 
n° 7, chant de la voix ecrit par la platine de l'etrier a l'extremite 
de la chaine des osselets, avec diapason compteur et style 
amplificateur; n° 8, etude sur l'accent tonique par une membrane du 
tympan formee de trois tuniques a elasticites compensees; n° 9, 
l'inscription automatique du chant par l'etrier (epreuve visee le 7 

99 71 ") A 

septembre 1860," par MM. Gerardin et Saigey)." Le style 
amplificateur que je presente aujourd'hui 23 m'a permis de donner aux 
mouvements trop faibles de l'etrier les dimensions necessaires. 

the voice by the membrane of the tympanum fixed at its center, likewise 
with tuning fork; no. 6, song of the voice written by the artificial 
footplate of the stirrup stripped of its membrane, with tuning fork; 
no. 7, song of the voice written by the footplate of the stirrup at the end 
of the chain of the ossicles, with measuring tuning fork and amplifier 
stylus; no. 8, study of the tonic accent by a membrane of the 
tympanum formed of three tunics with compensated elasticities; no. 9, 
the automatic inscription of song by the stirrup (print signed on 7 
September 1860 by Messrs. Gerardin and Saigey). The amplifier 
stylus which I present today has enabled me to give to the 
too-weak motions of the stirrup the necessary dimensions. 

«Je demande a l'Academie la permission de lui faire 26 remarquer que 
ces derniers travaux remontent a pres d'un an, comme peuvent l'attester 
M. le prince Schohoskoi et M. Nicolas de Khanikoff, 27 qui n'ont pas 
dedaigne de me seconder dans quelques-unes de ces experiences." J'ai 
joint au present envoi une epreuve dont la date est 29 
certifiee par le visa de deux savants, M. 30 Gerardin et M. Saigey. 

"I request the Academie's permission to point out to it that 

these last labors date back nearly a year, as Prince Schohoskoi 

and Mr. Nicolas de Khanikoff can attest, who did not 

disdain to assist me in some of these experiments. I have 

enclosed with the present parcel a print of which the date is certified 

by the signature of two scientists, Mr. Gerardin and Mr. Saigey. 

«Au moment ou le probleme que je poursuis depuis longtemps semble 
preoccuper enfin l'attention des amis de la science, peut-etre n'est-il pas 
inopportun de vous exposer l'etat actuel de mes travaux sur la 

"At a time when the problem I have long been pursuing seems finally to 
preoccupy the attention of the friends of science, perhaps it is not 
inappropriate to explain to you the current state of my work on the 

«D'apres mes experiences, l'oreille ne repete pas les sons, comme tant 
de physiologistes ou de pathologistes le croient, elle ne fait que 
conduire les mouvements vibratoires qu'elle a pour mission de 
concentrer {1878:66} en attenuant certains tons trop forts, en amplifiant 

"According to my experiments, the ear does not repeat sounds, as so 
many physiologists or pathologists believe, it does nothing but 
conduct the vibratory motions which it is its mission to 
concentrate, attenuating certain tones that are too strong, amplifying 

MS has this word written as a correction over something beginning with an "f ' 

1878 has "entre lignes" unhyphenated 

MS has "4" written over "3" 

MS has "7 bre " 

MS omits comma 

MS has paragraph break 

MS has "que j'ai l'honneur de vous soumettre" = "which I have the honor of submitting to you" 

MS has "Je vous demanderai, Monsieur le President, la permission de vous faire remarquer" = "I shall request, Mr. President, permission to point out to you'' 

MS omits comma 

MS inserts m-dash 

MS inserts " visee " 

MS has "savants M.M. Gerardin et Saigey." 


d'autres sons trop faibles. 31 

other sounds that are too weak. 

«Le conduit auditif externe est surtout un appareil de concentration 
et de tranquillisation des couches de l'air vibrant, qui, au voisinage 
de la cloison membraneuse appelee tympan, doit etre a l'etat 

"The external auditory canal is above all an apparatus for concentrating 
and tranquillizing the strata of the vibrating air which, in the vicinity of 
the membranous partition called the tympanum, must be in a dormant 

{CR:110} «Les concamerations de ce conduit defilent le voisinage de 
cette membrane " des moindres filets d'air engages dans l'orifice 
exterieur. La position inclinee de la membrane, par rapport a l'axe du 
conduit, est indispensable a la bonne communication des bruits. 

«La membrane est le seul chemin des ondes sonores. Toute part 
d'ebranlement transmise aux parois du conduit etant perdue pour la 

membrane, il faut 
impropre a vibrer. 

que le conduit soit, autant que possible, 

{MS:3} « 35 I1 m'est demontre experimentalement 36 qu'un point 
quelconque du tympan execute et ecrit le meme son principal que tous 
les autres points. Un tel point subit comme une molecule libre de 
l'air, mais d'une maniere moins nette, le mouvement (exprime par les 
figures theoriques des accords, pi. I re ), 38 qui resulte de deux, trois 39 
ou meme quatre sons simultanes, dans un rapport de nombres 
de vibrations commensurable ou non. 

"The concamerations of this conduit defilade the vicinity of this 
membrane from the least flow of air engaged in the external 
opening. The tilted position of the membrane relative to the axis of the 
conduit is essential to the good communication of noises. 

"The membrane is the sound waves' only path. Any portion 
of agitation transmitted to the walls of the conduit being lost for the 
membrane, it is necessary that the conduit be, as much as possible, 
unsuited to vibrating. 

"It has been demonstrated to me by experiment that any point 
of the tympanum carries out and writes the same principal sound as all 
the other points. Such a point is subjected like a free molecule of 
the air, but in a less clear manner, to the movement (expressed by the 
theoretical figures of harmonies, plate 1) which results from two, three 
or even four simultaneous sounds, in a commensurable ratio of numbers 
of vibrations or not. 

«La membrane de mon tympan artificiel doit etre composee de 
plusieurs tuniques d'elasticites differentes, soudees ensemble; car elle 
ne doit sonner 41 sous l'influence d'aucun son, et n'executer jamais 

"The membrane of my artificial tympanum must be composed of 
several tunics of different elasticities, soldered together; because it must 
not sound under the influence of any sound nor ever execute 

Underlining in MS: " attenuant certains tons trop forts , en amplifiant d'autres sons trop faibles " = "attenuating certain tones that are too strong, and amplifying 
other sounds that are too weak" 

32 MS inserts " par rapport a l'axe " 

33 MS does not set "par rapport a l'axe du conduit" off in commas. 

34 MS inserts " autant " 

33 MS adds quotation mark in pencil 

36 MS inserts " parlant " 

37 MS underlines "qu'un point quelconque du tympan execute et ecrit le meme son principal que tous les autres points" 

38 MS has "...des accords pi. I" e ) qui " 

MS has "resulte [sic] de deux trois....'' 

1878 has "sont" 

MS underlines "sonner" 


librement le ton 42 qui est propre a leur elasticite naturelle, a leur etat 

actuel de tension, mais seulement les 
vibrant dans le conduit. 

tons accomplis par l'air 

«La phonometrie n'existant pas encore, on ne s'etait pas aper9u de 
l'enorme difference d' amplitude qui existe entre les vibrations 
musicales, H telles que celles de la trompette, du chant de la voix, etc., et 
les sifflements et les bruits, tels que les frolements, 45 certaines 

X 47 

articulations vocales, etc. Pour amplifier ceux-ci et attenuer ceux-la, 
la nature s'est servie d'artifices acoustiques. Le moyen principal 48 de 
cette espece de compensation, c'est la chaine des osselets. 

«Cette chaine, que je presente artificiellement construite, est un 
appareil de tension des membranes et de conduction par voie de 
solide; {1878:67} c'est un arc a la fois flexible et bande qui, par sa 
tension, produite par deux muscles antagonistes l'un du marteau, 
l'autre de l'etrier, opere a ses deux extremites un tirage sur les 
membranes du tympan et de la fenetre ovale, en les bandant elles- 
memes. 3 Une membrane qui n'est point ainsi tiree vers son centre ne 
trace qu'imparfaitement son mouvement et s'affolle sous 
1' influence du ton propre au conduit. 

«La platine de l'etrier, placee a l'autre extremite de cette chaine, ecrit 
plus nettement et plus fortement les tons que la membrane de la 
fenetre ronde. Le manche du marteau, pour le succes de 
1' experience, doit, pour ainsi dire, faire corps avec la membrane du 
tympan. » 

freely the tone which is peculiar to their natural elasticity, in their 
current state of tension, but only the tones carried out by the air 
vibrating in the conduit. 

"Phonometry not yet existing, one had not realized the 
enormous difference in amplitude that exists between musical 
vibrations, such as those of the trumpet, the song of the voice, etc., 
and hissings and noises, such as rustlings, certain 
vocal articulations, etc. To amplify the latter and attenuate the 
former, nature is served by acoustic contrivances. The principal 
means of this kind of compensation is the chain of the ossicles. 

"This chain, which I present artificially built, is an 

apparatus for stretching the membranes and conducting by way of a 

solid; it is an arc at once flexible and bent which, by its 

tension, produced by two opposed muscles, the one of the hammer, 

the other of the stirrup, effects at both its ends a pull on the 

membranes of the tympanum and of the oval window, in bending 

themselves. A membrane which is not thus pulled towards its center 

traces its movement only imperfectly and goes crazy under 

the influence of the tone proper to the conduit. 

"The footplate of the stirrup, placed at the other end of this chain, writes 
the tones more clearly and more strongly than the membrane of the 
round window. The handle of the hammer, for the success of the 
experiment, must, so to speak, form one body with the membrane of the 

' MS inserts "le ton" with carat 

MS has this inserted with a carat after a crossed-out word ("aux"?) 
44 MS underlines only "vibrations" 
43 MS has "tels, les frolements" 

46 MS omits "vocales" 

47 1878 has "celles-la" 

48 MS has "...acoustiques. — Le principal moyen principal...." 

49 MS has "je vous presente" 

50 1878 has comma 

31 MS has paragraph break with a dash at the end of the preceding paragraph and the beginning of the following one. 


Conformement a la demande de M. Scott, le paquet cachete depose par 
{CR:111} lui le 26 Janvier 1857 est ouvert en seance; la Note 
incluse portant pour titre «Principes de Phonautographie», est paraphee 
par M. le Secretaire perpetuel, et renvoyee ainsi que les epreuves et les 
dessins presentes par l'auteur a l'examen de la Commission 
ci-dessus designee. 52 {CR, 1878 end} 


levier amplificateur du style . 

a a' , support avec embase cylindrique. II est est en buis legerement 
conique de a a a^ et fait corps avec b b' . La fibre est dirigee 
de a a a'. 

In accordance with the request of Mr. Scott, the sealed package 
deposited by him on 26 January 1857 was opened in session; the note 
included, bearing as title "Principles of Phonautograph," was initialed 
by Mr. Perpetual Secretary and returned as well as the prints and 
drawings presented by the author for examination by the Commission 
named above. 

amplifier lever of the stylus. 

a a', support with cylindrical base. It is of boxwood slightly 

conical from a to a ' and forms one body with b b '. The fiber is directed 

from a to a '. 

b b' , grand bras du levier ab\ II s'amincit en allant de b vers 
V dans le sens de son epaisseur A 1 lg "'. Pris dans le meme morceau que 
a la fibre est dirigee dans la meme sens. L'extremite b| est perforee 
pour laisser passer a frottement dur une fine aiguille c. 

c, d. c est une fine aiguille d'acier qu'on peut faire avancer a volonte 
A avec les pmces 53 ^ ans j g p ertius ^ jy § on ex tremite superieure s'enfile 

dans un tres-petit morceau de carte ou de bois d sur lequel s' applique 

a par collage i . i 

A r 6 le style e. 

e± A lf ' 8 4) grandi quatre fois. Pinceau de plume de cygne compose de 
quatre SIX barbules enchevetrees naturellement. Les barbules 3 et 4 
forment par leur extremite le balai qui trace sur le noir de fumee. La 
fine pointe e a ete legerement tailee avec les oiseaux de dissection. II 
est essentiel que le style soit forme de deux barbules ne formant 
neanmoins qu'une seule pointe. 

b b ', large arm of the lever a b '. It gets thinner in going from b towards 
b'in the way of its thickness a' lg *'. Taken in the same piece as 
a the fiber is directed in the same way. The end b ' is perforated 
to let pass with heavy friction a thin needle c. 

c, d. c is a thin needle of steel which one may move forward at will 

A 1 " h ple ' s in the opening of b '. Its upper end is pierced 

into a very small piece of cardboard or wood d onto which is applied 

, by being glued 

the stylus e. 

eA 1 

(fig • 4 : 

increased four times. Pencil of swan quill composed of 
four S1X barbules naturally entangled. Barbules 3 and 4 
form by their end the brush that traces on the lampblack. The 
thin point e has been lightly trimmed with birds of dissection. It 
is essential that the stylus be formed of two barbules nevertheless 
forming only a single point. 

1878 omits "ci-dessus"; the portion of the MS written in ink instead closes with: "Agreer, etc. I Leon Scott de Martinville I La Note qui precede avec les 
dessins et epreuves a l'appui, est envoyee a l'examen d'une commission composee de MM. Pouillet, Regnault, Claude Bernard." = "Yours etc. I Leon Scott de 
Martinville I The preceding note with the supporting designs and drawings is sent for examination by a commission composed of Messrs. Pouillet, Regnault, 
Claude Bernard." Scott's name and "Claude" are struck through with pencil, and there is also a line across the whole passage. Underneath, the closing passage 
found in CR and 1878 appears in pencil, with "depose par lui le 26 Janvier 1857" written in over some other, indecipherable words ("Academie"?). 
33 It is unclear whether Scott is inserting this before or after "a volonte"; however, it looks as though he first inserted it before and then corrected the insertion to 
come after. 


Mode de collage de la chaine des osselets dans la membrane du 

la membrane du tympan a_A ( lg est double composee de deux 
tuniques a' a" representees en coupe fig. 3. Ce sont deux 
baudruches dont celle du dessous a^ est preparee contre 
l'hygroscopie. C'est sur cette tunique inferieure qu'est applique par 
collage A d " r le manche du marteau b, apres qu'on a decoupe (fig. 2) le 
cercle b' dans la membrane superieure a^ A |flg 31 avant son application a 
la colle a bouche sur la membrane a". Les parties b' b sont ensuite 
reappliquees par collage sur l'embase b du marteau. De cette maniere 
la chaine des osselets b_c (fig. 1) exerce une traction directe au moyen 
de ses muscles ff_ sur la membrane a" directement en contact avec 
l'air vibrant. 


{row 1, column 2} 

mouvement d'une 
molecule de l'air 
ebranlee dans la 
direction ab. 

a, a', a" sont une 
meme position de la 
molecule qu'elle 
revient occuper 
successivement apres 
des instants egaux. 
La duree de ces 
instants est supposee 
icid'un250 e de 

developpement sur un plan anime d'une 
progression uniforme du mouvement de 
cette meme molecule de l'air rentrant dans le 
repos apres un seul ebranlement initial de a 
en b. Chaque condensation et chaque 
dilation successives sont d'une egale duree, 
mais non d'une egale amplitude. 

La vitesse du mouvement du plan sur lequel 
la molecule est supposee inscrire sa trace est 
telle que de a_en a, de a' en a', etc., il s'est 
ecoule un 250 e de seconde. Tous les instants 
intermediaries du mouvement de ce plan 
sont egalement egaux. C'est ce qui constitue 
un mouvement uniforme. Le mouvement de 
a en b est une vibration simple; de a en a une 
vibration double. 

Manner of gluing the chain of ossicles onto the membrane of the 

the membrane of the tympanum a A ( ' 8 ' 'is double composed of two 
tunics a ' a " represented in cross section fig. 3. These are two 
goldbeater's skins of which the one underneath a "is treated against 
hygroscopy. It is onto this lower tunic that the handle of the hammer is 
applied by A cavy gluing, after one has cut out (fig. 2) the circle b' 
in the upper membrane a' A |flg ■ 31 having its application with 
mouth-glue onto membrane a". The parts b' b are then 
reapplied by being glued onto the base b of the hammer. In this manner 
the chain of the ossicles b c (fig. 1) exerts a direct traction by means 
of its muscles// on the membrane a" directly in contact with 
the vibrating air. 


motion of a 

development on an animated plane of a 

molecule of the air 

uniform progression of the motion of this 

agitated in the 

same molecule of the air returning to rest after 

direction a b. 

a single initial agitation of a into b. Each 

successive condensation and each dilation are 

of an equal duration, but not of an equal 


a, a', a" are the same 

position of the 

molecule which it 

comes back to 

The speed of the motion of the plane on 

occupy successively 

which the molecule is supposed to inscribe its 

after equal 

trace is such that from a into a, from a' into a', 

moments. The 

etc., there passes one 250 th of a second. All 

duration of these 

the intermediate moments of the motion of 

moments is 

this plane are likewise equal. This is what 

supposed here to be 

constitues a uniform motion. The motion of a 

one 250 th of a 

into b is a simple vibration; from a into a a 


double vibration. 


{row 2, column 1} 

developpement sur le meme plan 

toutes les vibrations de la 

anime de la meme vitesse du 

figure precedente etant 

mouvement de la molecule a subissant 

egales en amplitude en en 

le meme ebranlement que 

[sic] duree, nous pouvons 

precedement, mais d'une maniere 

representer l'ut de 500 


vibrations simples par 

seconde, ainsi: 

Le temps que le plan a mis a s'avancer 

de a en a, de a en a^, etant toujours de 

l/250 e de seconde, et la longueur a a 

(ou l'abscisse) etant la meme, la 

Ce sera la courbe tracee sur 

tonalite n'a pas change; seulement 

le plan mobile en question 

l'amplitude (ou l'ordonnee b c) est 

pendant un temps 

devenue constante. On dit dans ce cas 

quadruple de la vibration 

en physique qu'il passe dans la 

simple; ce sera un 125 e de 

molecule d'air a une onde stationnaire. 


{row 2, column 2} 

1' octave inferieure ou plus 

combinaison graphique du son 

basse de cet ut sera 

precedent avec son octave sup. 

c'est-a-dire que pour le 

meme temps (ou la meme 

abscisse a a" [)], il ne s'est 

Les deux sons des figures precedentes 

produit que 4 vibrations 

s'ajoutant et se superposent: rapport de 

simples au lieu de 8. 

1 :2. 

{row 2, column 3} 

combinaison du meme son avec sa tierce (ut-mi) 
c'est le rapport de 4 : 5 

development on the same animated 
plane at the same speed of motion of 
the molecule a subjected to the same 
agitation as previously, but in a 
continuous manner 

The time which the plane took to 
advance from a into a, from a into a ', 
being always l/250 th of a second, and 
the length a a (or the abscissa) being 
the same, the tonality did not change; 
only the amplitude (or the ordinate b 
c) became constant. One says in this 
case in physics that there passes in the 
molecule of air a a stationary wave. 

all the vibrations of the 
preceding figure being 
equal in amplitude in in 
[sic] duration, we can 
represent the do of 500 
simple vibrations per 
second, thus: 

This will be the curve 
traced on the mobile plane 
in question during a 
quadruple time of the 
simple vibration; this will 
be one 125' of a second 

the lower or deeper 

graphic combination of the preceding 

octave of this do will 

sound with its upper octave 


that is to say that for 

the same time (or the 

same abscisse a a '[)]', 

there are produced only 

The two sounds of the preceding figures 

4 simple vibrations 

join and superimpose themselves: ratio of 

instead of 8. 

1 :2. 

combination of the same sound with its third (do-mi) 
this is the ratio of 4 : 5 


{row 3, column 1} 

combinaison du meme son avec sa quarte (ut-fa) 
c'est le rapport de 3 : 4 

{row 3, column 2} 

combinaison du meme son avec sa quinte (ut-sol) 
Rapport de 2 : 3 

{row 3, column 3} 

Combinaison du meme son avec la sixte (ut-la) 
c'est le rapport de 3 : 5. 

{MS:[6] = plate2,phonautogram fragments} 

No 2. 

combination of the same sound with its fourth (do-fa) 
this is the ratio of 3 : 4 

combination of the same sound with its fifth (do-so) 
Ratio of 2 : 3 

Combination of the same sound with the sixth (do-la) 
this is the ratio of 3 : 5 

No 2. 

inscription du 

figure d'une sorte de 

la voyelle a chantee 

mouvement de la 

grognement sur la 

avec diapason en 

toupie par elle-meme 

voyelle in avec 

diapason de 500 en 



inscription du 

2 voix simultanes 

figure et duree d'un 

mouvement du toton 

l'un fait le si 2 , l'autre 

choc simple sur une 

par lui-meme 

l'ut 3 

plaque de fer blanc 

transmis par l'air 

avec diapason 

meme corps a 

un des harmoniques 

librations plus 

de la voix 

simultane en 



inscription of the 

figure of a sort of 

the vowel a sung 

movement of the top 

growl on the vowel 

with tuning fork in 

by itself 

in with tuning fork of 

500 in interlinear 


interlinear space 

inscription of the 

2 simultaneous 

figure and duration 

movement of the 

voices the one does 

of a simple impact 

teetotum by itself 

si 1 , the other do 3 

on a sheet of tin- 
plate transmitted by 
the air with 

same body with 

one of the harmonics 

librations closer 

of the voice 

simultaneous tuning 


fork in interlinear 

[underneath, in ink] Leon Scott, b. s. g. d. g. 5 

Leon Scott, patent without governmental guarantee 

'brevet sans garantie du Gouvernement" 


{MS:[7] = plate3} 

[margin, in red pencil] N° 3. 

[margin, in ink] Gamme de la voix, par la membrane du tympan fixee 

a son centre. Le diapason ecrit simultanement en entreligne. 

[bottom] Gamme de la voix avec diapason de 500 vibrations simples 
en interligne pour compter, les harmoniques sont indiques dans la 
vibration principale, membrane enduite d'apres les indications de M. 
le professeur Regnault I 17 Mai 1860 I Leon Scott 


Scale of the voice, by the membrane of the tympanum fixed at its 

center. The tuning fork writes simultaneously in interlinear space. 

Scale of the voice with tuning fork of 500 simple vibrations in 
interlinear space for counting, the harmonics are indicated in the 
principal vibration, membrane coated according to the instructions of 
Professor Regnault I 17 May 1860 I Leon Scott 

{MS:[8] = plate 4} 

[margin, in red pencil] N° 4. 

[margin, in ink] Gamme par la platine de Terrier, le Diapason ecrit 

simultanement en entreligne. 

[bottom] Gamme de la voix par l'oreille moyenne (fenetre ovale) 

No 4. 

Scale by the footplate of the stirrup, the tuning fork writes 

simultaneously in interlinear space. 

Scale of the voice by the middle ear (oval window) 

{MS:[9] = plate 5} 

[margin, in red pencil] N° 5. 

[margin, in ink] Chant de la voix par la membrane du tympan fixee a 

son centre. Le Diapason ecrit simultanement en entreligne. 

[bottom] au clair de la lune chante; la ton est mesure par le diapason 
de 500 vibrations simples par seconde qui ecrit directement et 
simultanement en entreligne du chant 
Leon Scott 9 Avril 1860 

No 5. 

Song of the voice by the membrane of the tympanum fixed at its 

center. The tuning fork writes simultaneously in interlinear space. 

au clair de la lune sung; the tone is measured by the tuning fork 
of 500 simple vibrations per second which writes directly and 
simultaneously in interlinear space of the song 
Leon Scott 9 April 1860 

{MS:[10] = plate6} 


[side, in red pencil] N° 6. 

[side, in ink] Chant de la voix, ecrit par la platine de l'etrier, 

depouillee de sa membrane. Diapason en entreligne. 

[underneath, in pencil] vole, petite abeille — membrane simple- 
L'etrier ecrit a l'air libre I L Scott 15 Sept. 1860 

[underneath, left corner, in pencil] No. 2 

[underneath, right corner, in pencil] vole/ 

No 6. 

Song of the voice, written by the footplate of the stirrup, stripped of 

its membrane. Tuning fork in interlinear space. 

vole, petite abeille ["fly, little bee"] — simple membrane — 
The stirrup writes in the free air I L Scott 15 Sept. 1860 

No. 2 

vole/ ["fly"] 

{MS:[11] = plate7} 

[side, in red pencil] N° 7. 

[side, in ink] Chant de la voix ecrit par la platine de l'etrier, a 
l'extremite de la chaine des osselets, avec diapason compteur et 
style amplificateur. 

[underneath, in pencil] un chant (vole, etc.) ecrit par un solide, la 
platine de l'etrier a l'extremite de la chaine des osselets 
avec diapason compteur 

[underneath, right corner, in pencil] No. 3 

No 7. 

Song of the voice written by the footplate of the stirrup, at the end 
of the chain of the ossicles, with measuring tuning fork and 
amplifier stylus. 

a song (vole ["fly"], etc.) written by a solid, the 

footplate of the stirrup at the end of the chain of the ossicles 

with measuring tuning fork 

No. 3 

' Corrected from "No. 1" (?) 

Corrected from "No. 2" 

{MS:[12] 57 = plate8} 


[margin, in red pencil] N° 8. 

[margin, in ink] Membrane du tympan, a trois tuniques 

d'elasticites compensees. 

[bottom] etude sur 1' accent tonique a la requete de M. le professeur 
Regnault Chi crederia che sotto forme umane* e sotto queste 
pastorali spoglie fosse nascosto un Dio? non mi — 

*je me suis trompe I il faudrait umane forme 

[bottom, in ink] Leon Scott 

No 8. 

Membrane of the tympanum, with three tunics 

of compensated elasticities. 

Study of the tonic accent at the request of Professor 
Regnault. Chi crederia che sotto forme umane* e sotto queste 
pastorali spoglie fosse nascosto un D;o? Non mi — 

*I was wrong I it should be umane forme 

Leon Scott 

{MS:[13] 57 = plate 9} 

[bottom] un chant de la voix (et incarnatus est de Cherubini) ecrit par 
un solide (la platine de l'etrier) formant un noeud fixe dans la 
fenetre ovale I Leon Scott I 1" Sept 1860 

[bottom, in ink] 

Vu le 7 7— 1860 A. Gerardin prof, de Physique au 

College Stanislas. 

Vu le 7 Septembre 1860 Saigey 

[margin, in pencil] ne pas couper en [...] bas l'ecriture 

a song of the voice (et incarnatus est by Cherubini) written by 
a solid (the footplate of the stirrup) forming a fixed node in the 
oval window I Leon Scott I 1 st Sept 1860 

Seen 7 September 1860 A. Gerardin prof, of physics at the 

College Stanislas. 

Seen 7 September 1860 Saigey 

do not cut the writing at [...] bottom 

On the reverse of the leaf containing page [12] is a notation: "15 Juillet 1861. I 9 Planches de M. Scott I No. MM. Pouillet I Regnault I Bernard." = "15 

July 1861. I 9 Plates of Mr. Scott I No. Messrs. Pouillet I Regnault I Bernard." Note that pages 1-2 are back-to-back, whereas 3-[13] could technically be 

considered leaves. If the side of the leaf containing the notation is itself considered a "page," then plate 9 would be page [14]. 

58 Scott has written in the underline on "umane" and the word "forme" in black on white rather than the white on black of the phonautogram itself, perhaps 
"touching up" an obscured inscription. 

39 Page is damaged; from spacing patterns, it appears that a one or two letter word may be missing. 
60 Italian: "Who would believe that under human form and under this pastoral garb would be found a God? Not on — "